February 28, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Delegate Sample-Hughes, President

Women’s Legislative Caucus

 Sheree.Sample.Hughes@house.state.md.us

Womens.caucus@house.state.md.us

Phone (410) 841-3013

 The Women's Legislative Caucus condemns the use of racist language in any context and is deeply dismayed by the comments made by Delegate Mary Ann Lisanti regarding the residents of Prince George's County. It is a sad reminder that racism persists in our society, even among the policy makers of Maryland. The use of the n-word is hateful and, at best, demonstrates a deep ignorance of the history and meaning of race in our society. We cannot stand idly by as the children of Prince George's county and across the state hear an elected official use racist and hateful language. The Women's Caucus will not be a by-stander to such harassment.

 The issue of racism goes beyond the actions of one individual. Sadly, the Maryland Legislature is not immune to the societal problem of racism. The Women's Caucus has a tradition of having taken a stand against harassment of any form. For example, last year, the Women's Caucus played a leadership role on the issue of sexual harassment in the Maryland General Assembly, which calls for proactive measures such as training for staff and legislators, as well as reform of the investigatory process.

 To address recent events, the Senate and House Leadership, along with the Human Resources Department, should consider expanding its anti-harassment training to include cultural awareness. Racial slurs and derogatory language affect the workplace climate for all and such incidents must become a thing of the past.

 We stand in solidarity with our colleagues in the Legislative Black Caucus, the Latino Caucus and the Asian-American Caucus to celebrate the diversity of this body and the communities we represent. We share their concerns and call for the censure of Delegate Mary Ann Lisanti in light of her use of the "n-word" to describe a community in Prince George's County, a predominantly black district. The Women's Legislative Caucus stands firm in its commitment to respect for all women of Maryland.