Christiana Rigby

Howard County Council, District 3

Indivisible Howard County/Immigration Action Team Candidate Questions

  1. The Liberty Act (Cb63-2020) was signed into law in 2020.  A referendum to repeal this law is on the ballot for the November 2022 election.  Do you support the Liberty Act? If so, will you publicly speak out in favor of it?

I strongly support CB63-2020, also known as the Liberty Act. As a Councilmember, I was proud to vote in favor of this legislation before the County Council in 2020, and I plan to actively campaign in favor of keeping this important law on the books in the November 2022 election.

No resident should fear the threat of deportation when seeking out community services or calling law enforcement for assistance. The Liberty Act protects our Howard County neighbors by keeping immigration status confidential when calling 911, paying a water bill, and seeking other community services. This legislation makes our community safer, and it helps build trust in our public institutions.

2. Hate crimes have been increasing in Maryland and nationwide against all minorities and most recently against people of Asian origin. As a County Councilmember, what would you do address this issue and prevent hate crimes in Howard County?  

As a county, we can do more to protect residents from hate crimes and to respond effectively when hate crimes occur. One key approach to preventing hate crimes is strengthening our community institutions and our county efforts to promote racial equity. The Office of Human Rights and Equity (OHRE) has both a community outreach unit and an equity and restorative practices unit. On the community outreach side, I support OHRE’s work to host community conversations and workshops around race and equity, which help build bridges and mutual understanding in our community. As a Councilmember, I believe that OHRE needs to be well-funded and supported by County leaders in their efforts to promote racial equity, investigate discrimination, and help build strong and connected communities.

Hate crimes must also be condemned by our elected and community leaders. Far too often, we witness local, state, and national politicians use harmful and hateful rhetoric against communities of color that leads to increases in hate crimes across the country. As elected leaders, we have a responsibility to disavow hateful rhetoric and work to advance efforts that promote racial equity at a systems level. I am committed to working to identify and address systemic inequities that lead to discrimination, hate, and inequity in Howard County.

3. What specific steps would you take to help both documented and undocumented immigrants, specifically students and young adults, succeed in Howard County?

I am very grateful that County Executive Ball and the County Council worked with the Howard County Public School System and Board of Education to fund several community liaisons in the FY23 budget for HCPSS. This included the funding of 5 Black Student Achievement Program (BSAP) liaisons, 4 Hispanic achievement liaisons, and 2 international achievement liaisons. As we work to support documented and undocumented immigrants in HCPSS, these liaison positions are important school personnel that students work with and rely on. I am fully supportive of these efforts to increase liaison positions in HCPSS, and as our student body continues to grow more diverse, I know that there is more work to be done in this area.

I also believe that Howard County can do more to support immigrants in the realm of employment. One of the key recommendations of the Howard County Racial Equity Task Force was to expand and incentivize apprenticeship programs in Howard County, which help connect younger residents with workforce training, experience, and career pathways. I am committed to working on this issue of expanding and incentivizing apprenticeship opportunities and access in Howard County.