More than 25 NAACP members and other guests filled rooms in both Prince George’s County and Howard County this September to learn more about preemption and understand how it can hurt their health and quality of life, igniting lively conversations.
The two town halls included local NAACP chapters and were facilitated by LOCAL Maryland, a coalition of state advocacy organizations committed to protecting the ability of local elected officials to pass laws that support healthy families, a clean environment and good jobs. They included distinguished panels, which spoke on the purpose of the coalition as well as its importance to communities of color and the specific localities.
Gerald Stansbury, President of the Maryland State Conference of the NAACP, wanted the audience to know exactly how preemption can specifically hurt its constituents. “It’s important for people of color to understand that preemption affects things we need like housing, safety and health,” said Stansbury. “It takes away the power of community. It takes your voice away. We need to start the conversation about preemption. This is our cause. We need to be on the front lines.”
Monica Young, representing Prince George’s County District 5 councilmember Jolene Ivey sat on the panel and emphasized how preemption affects local government. “Preemption impacts our ability to create laws that impact our community. Who knows you better than your local legislators? It’s important that your local legislators are able to work with you directly to know your needs.”