Support for Barnes' battle with Help Save Maryland
I have been following several recent letters to the editor between state Del. Ben Barnes and Brad Botwin of Help Save Maryland. Del. Barnes wrote a letter condemning Help Save
Maryland, and its leader, Mr. Botwin, for their unashamed spreading of half truths, racial
stereotypes and for their hateful message of intolerance.
In response, Mr. Botwin has shown his unfettered anger by attacking Del. Barnes personally, calling him and the "vast majority" of elected officials in Prince George's County "festering blemishes." He has also attacked Del. Barnes' record on education, civil rights and whatever else he could think of. Del. Barnes has already responded to the education attacks by pointing to his "A" record from the teachers association, so let me set the record straight on
Del. Barnes' civil rights record.
As a member of the Laurel City Council, I have come to know Ben Barnes well and as an African-American who grew up during the civil rights era, I am particularly sensitive to issues concerning discrimination and civil justice. As a child in the 1960s, I watched the nightly news in horror and fear, as racial injustice swept this country. In the 1970s, as a young adult, I participated in the civil rights movement to bring equality to all Americans.
Let me go on record by stating that Ben Barnes has been a champion in Annapolis for equal justice and civil rights for all citizens of Maryland. He has proven this time and again in his support of minority business enterprises, affirmative action and, most recently, showing the courage to take on Mr. Botwin, Help Save Maryland and their angry, divisive rhetoric.
I applaud Ben Barnes for standing up against bigotry and having the courage of his convictions. I know this feeling is shared by all minorities and others in his district.
Frederick Smalls, Laurel
The writer is a member of Laurel's city council.