Rockville To Host Town Hall on Diversity
Thursday night event aimed as response to recent hate crimes and racist graffiti
Earlier swastika vandalism found by police in Rockville's Welsh Park in April. Similar vandalism has been found in recent weeks.
The City of Rockville Council and Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton are holding a town hall event Thursday night on the topic of racism in response to bias incidents in the highly diverse community.
The event will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Carnation Room in the Rockville Senior Center at 1150 Carnation Drive. Ebony Davis, chairwoman of the city’s Human Rights Commission, and recently retired Rockville City Police Department Chief Terry Treschuk will serve as panelists in the open discussion with residents.
Council member Julie Palakovich Carr, who proposed the event earlier this winter, said Wednesday she hoped the town hall would allow community members to speak about their “concerns about where Rockville was as a community as well as suggestions and ideas on how we can be a more inclusive community.”
Palakovich Carr pointed to hate crime incidents in recent months as spurring the need for more conversation about race and diversity.
In January, an anti-Semitic note was left for a Rockville family after members had hung a Black Lives Matter banner from their condo. Recent police reports note a spray-painted swastika was found on a building in Jefferson Plaza sometime before Dec. 30, and swastikas and “Hail Hitler” were spray-painted on several trees in a park on Dunster Road on Jan. 5.
Responding to such events is especially important to a city as diverse as Rockville, Palakovich Carr said. One in three city residents is born outside the U.S., and a 2016 Wallethub study named Rockville as the 14th most diverse city in the nation.
The speakers at the town hall will address such issues as how the community should deal with bias incidents and assess public opinion of community policing tactics used by Rockville police, Palakovich Carr said.
“This is our community; these are our neighbors and coworkers and children’s classmates,” she said of the city’s diverse population. “It’s in our best interest if we can all be working together and hearing each other out respectfully and trying to make Rockville an even better place to live and work.”
City officials will record notes of the meeting and release a summary, she said. They also plan to set up future meetings on the subject to continue the conversation.