Commentary: Baltimore County’s Black residents want council that represents them

Veronica Dunlap testifies at a Baltimore County hearing on Council expansion.

(Photo by William Wilder Photography)

Seven men sit across the dais – six white and one Black. They’ve been elected to wield government power on behalf of Baltimore County’s 854,000 residents, more than half of whom are women and nearly half Black, brown, Indigenous and other people of color.

How could this all-male, overwhelmingly white group truly represent Baltimore County’s rich diversity?

This question is personal for me as a Black woman and democracy activist living in the county whose voice isn’t represented by an election map purposefully configured to ensure a white hold on the County Council, despite numerous opportunities to change that. Most recently, council members ignored their own appointed committee’s recommendation that the council be expanded to promote fairer representation, despite many county residents speaking out in favor of this expansion.

Now, residents are seeking to take power into their own hands, reaching out to residents to sign onto the Vote4More coalition petition effort to let Baltimore County voters decide the council’s makeup for themselves.

Read the full OpEd in the Baltimore Banner