Dear Senate President Ferguson and House of Delegates Speaker Jones,
We, the undersigned, are expressing our support for a new Congressional map that will give African-American voters in Maryland’s First District a voice. We urge you to use your political power to create a competitive, balanced First District where the voices and votes of all residents matter, and where the outcomes of elections are not predetermined by the district lines.
For the past decade, our district has been represented by Congressman Andy Harris, who has repeatedly stoked racial tensions, embraced conspiracy theories, and espoused a hateful, dangerous ideology, which negatively impacts our communities.
Unfortunately, under the current map of the First District, African-American voters are at a significant disadvantage to change our representation. The existing district lines have empowered an extremist to represent us, with little fear of retribution for any of his actions or comments.
As part of the redistricting process that takes place every 10 years, we propose the creation of a new First District map, similar to the one that existed before 2012, that is competitive and balanced, allowing African-American residents — and all residents — to use our voices and our votes to render a verdict on Congressman Harris’s tenure in Congress.
The Eastern Shore of Maryland has one of the oldest and proudest Black communities in the country. We stand on the shoulders of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, who were enslaved here and won their freedoms here. Today, our communities are strong, vibrant, and
proud. If the Legislature chooses to push forward a map that continues to silence us for the next 10 years, it will be a grave disservice.
We urge you to design a map that creates a more balanced First District, one that gives Black voters the power to participate in choosing our representative with the confidence that the deck does not begin stacked against us. Anything less, given our current representation, would break our faith in good governance.
Richard M. Potter, Jr., President of Talbot County NAACP Branch
Rev. Ellsworth Tolliver, Chestertown Councilmember
Doncella Wilson, Denton Town Councilmember
Todd J. Nock, Pocomoke City Councilmember
Andre V. Johnson, Harford County Councilmember
Nivek M. Johnson, Kent County School Board Member
Wanda Boyer, Kent County
Albert Brooks, Talbot County
Mary Dennard, Dorchester County
Lawrence Diggs, Harford County
Keli L. Goldsborough, Queen Anne’s County
Tara Hill-Coursey, Caroline County
Adrian R. Holmes, Dorchester County
Omeakia Jackson, Dorchester County
Mikayla Lindsay, Wicomico County
Wayne Outlaw, Dorchester County
Dr. Michael Savoy, Wicomico County
Tasha Thomas, Wicomico County
Paul Tue III, Queen Anne’s County
Aaron A. Turner, Kent County
Lynette Wongus, Dorchester County