People anonymously interrupted a community meeting on Zoom, aiming racist language at Montgomery County Council member Will Jawando.
Jawando, a leader in the push for criminal justice reform, was discussing police accountability and transparency when it happened.
“I think part of it is that I was just kind of used to it,” he said. “You know, it’s not a new thing, unfortunately, and I was just like let me let it stop and I’ll start talking again.”
The meeting was a Council candidate forum held by Progressive Legacy, a group of county residents who promote progressive policies and candidates. The group was eventually able to remove the online interrupters but not before one of them used a racial slur dozens of times in the chat.
Jawando said he’s been heartened by the support he’s received and was glad his 3-year-old had just left the room.
“If we want that goal that I talked about, that multiracial, intergenerational community where we all have a chance to thrive, we have to call out this type of hate and division, because we can’t get that goal if we allow this,” he said.
The Montgomery County Council issued a statement condemning the comments.
At a briefing Thursday, County Executive Marc Elrich called it embarrassing and disgusting.
“The people making these attacks ought to put their names on them, because if they’re so proud of what they’re doing or so proud of what they think, own it,” he said.
The meeting went on with many noting it happened during Black History Month.
“The lesson here for me, and I hope for others, is that we gotta call this out and never allow it to be acceptable in public square, or privately, and try to move forward together,” Jawando said.
The group that sponsored the forum apologized to Jawando and those who were in the meeting. They said it’s never happened before and they are working to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
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