Saturday was Civil Rights Heroes Day in Maryland honoring the lives, historical legacies and impacts of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and Thurgood Marshall.
The day should remind us of the impacts Marylanders have had and how important they have been for our history.
They are also an example of how we can all make a difference, confront inequities and lift up others.
Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass are also of great importance to the Eastern Shore and the struggle and challenges many of our neighbors have faced.
Douglass and Tubman are part of the rich history here on the Shore. They teach us lessons on past transgressions and show ways forward to treating our neighbors as ourselves. We need to keep them in mind as we traverse some of our current challenges locally and nationally.
Our societal challenges remain as we look to live up to the promises of America and treat each other based on the content of their individual character.
We have certainly learned over the past year of the continued challenges we face when it comes to race and class.
We need to see meaningful and equitable criminal justice reforms as well as policing. Those changes need to recognize historical, systematic and contemporary inequalities and mistreatments.
But we also need to be aware of the important and essential work many of our police officers do every day. They are on the frontlines of helping abuse and sexual assault victims, those suffering from overdoses and others in dire straits.
There is no doubt communities need to take long looks and make needed changes. Too many of our friends and neighbors feel left out and left behind by the legal system, economy and society as a whole because of their race and class. We should all take that personally and look for ways to lift up others every day.
We know reforms and changes are needed.
But defunding the police and banning officers from school campuses are not the correct answers. We need better policing in our communities — not less or none. Big cities across the country — including Minneapolis and New York — are learning that.
There are bills at the Maryland General Assembly to restrict police from school campuses and to move resources away from security to counseling services. We agree schools need to put more of a focus on mental health and counseling services for students. But prohibiting or restricting police is not the answer. They are needed for security and to forge positive relationships with students so they see their community contributions.
We need to continue to honor the contributions of Tubman, Douglass and others who have made a difference here in the Shore and in the fight for equality.
That is a commitment we need to make everyday and every month.