Monday • November 15, 2021
“Free Speech Ain’t Hate Speech”…Until It Is, and Hate Speech Has No Place in Howard County
By Steven Keller
Parent voices matter….but hate speech should never be tolerated. Two weeks ago, HoCo Watchdogs reported on a concerning situation regarding the unprecedented announcement by representatives of the Howard County Educations Associations (HCEA) — the local HCPSS teacher/staff union — to protest what appeared to be a benign, community-organized public forum intending to highlight the role of parents’ voices in public education & discussing select niche controversial school issues, including “Critical Race Theory-inspired” curriculum and the age-appropriateness of content within books provided by HCPSS libraries.
The HCEA’s involvement stands as controversial, particularly regarding who within the organization authored the provocative, highly partisan original protest announcement and whether or not HCEA leadership vetted and approved it. However, despite the controversy of the HCEA’s announced-then-withdrawn plans to protest this community forum, the event itself ultimately included an unfortunate and extremely troubling moment that cannot be left unaddressed.
After being cancelled by its original venue, the sponsoring organization, “We The People 2″, did successfully hold the forum in a local warehouse in Elkridge, MD on its originally-scheduled date. The venue itself was decorated with patriotic & themed signs that included motivational & well-intentioned statements such as “Walking Away From Hatred”, “Stop Violating Civil Rights”, “Walking Away From Racism” and “Free Speech Ain’t Hate Speech”.