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While discussing racial disparities In the midst of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, a member of Maryland City Council was interrupted by two people – as they laughed and mocked his accent.

In a virtual meeting on Tuesday, Nancy Navarro, a member of the Montgomery County Council in Maryland, spoke passionately about the Deployment of the coronavirus vaccine in the county, which, she says, fails people of color. Maryland ranks last in getting vaccines in people’s arms, according to CDC data.

“For me personally, I’ve always had this interesting dilemma during my years of public service, which has been this weird disconnect in terms of who we are in Montgomery County,” Navarro, the first Latina and the only woman serving on the board, mentioned. “We’re still seen as totally, we’re like another county hologram that looks nothing like who we really are.”

One-third of the county’s residents were foreign-born and more than 40% speak a language other than English at home, according to census data.

As Navarro spoke, there was chatter and laughter in the background – two people who apparently thought they were mute were talking about Navarro’s accent.

“I love the way her accent comes out and says words like she thinks they’re spoken,” one person said, specifically calling out the way Navarro pronounced the words “represent” and “hologram”.

Laughing, another replied, “I heard ‘hologram’, and I thought, ‘This is quite interesting.'”

“So cute,” the first replied, still laughing.

“This kind of comment is totally inappropriate and inappropriate,” said Navarro, a Venezuelan immigrant. tweeted Wednesday. “This is a strong commentary on the toxicity and culture of disrespecting leaders and members of the community of color.”

Latina council member’s Zoom discussion on racism interrupted by people laughing at her accent
Nancy Navarro, president of Montgomery County Council, listens during a hearing in Rockville, Maryland, Jan. 15, 2019.

Cheryl Diaz Meyer for The Washington Post via Getty Images

“It’s so disheartening to know that this continues to be a problem,” Navarro told CBS News affiliate WUSA. “It just adds to the extra burden that you carry, and that exhaustion of having to explain to people why these things have an impact.”

The commentators were employees of Montgomery Community Media (MCM), which helps the board organize its virtual meetings.

MCM CEO Nannette O. Hobson said in a letter to Navarro that the company was “deeply sorry” for “the unfortunate incident”.

“The behavior of the MCM intern involved is totally unacceptable and does not reflect our culture,” Hobson wrote. “We are rightly disgusted and disappointed.”

“Let me be clear, MCM does not condone or condone such behavior on the part of our employees,” she added. “Appropriate action has been taken.”

The departmental council described the incident as “disturbing and unacceptable”, adding that it “is in solidarity” with Navarro.

“The entire Board is committed to racial equity and safe workplaces. Additionally, our community expects our Board and its employees and contractors to be held to the highest standard. “the county council said in a statement on Wednesday.

He said an independent investigation into the incident was underway.

“While the facts involved in this matter are investigated, we will recommit ourselves to educating our workforce and fostering a culture that is absolutely respectful, free from bigotry and reflecting the values ​​of Montgomery County,” did he declare.


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