Maryland’s Chief Executive calls attention to 2 million dose milestone, urges continued regional collaboration as DMV recovers from the pandemic
March 18, 2021 (Washington, D.C.) -- Governor Larry Hogan (R-MD) earlier today reported that Marylanders have received 2 million vaccine doses. According to the CDC, 12.9% of Marylanders have now been fully vaccinated. His announcement preceded an address to Connected DMV’s COVID-19 Strategic Renewal Task Force, in which he discussed the vital role Maryland's biohealth cluster is playing in bringing the pandemic to an end and stressed the critical importance of regional collaboration as the DMV continues to recover from the historic pandemic.
"Maryland is home to one of the top biohealth clusters in America, as well as the nation’s premier health research institutions. With such an abundance of biomedical and STEM talent throughout the DMV, it's critical to continue working together as we recover from this pandemic,” said Governor Hogan. “I want to commend Connected DMV and its COVID-19 Strategic Renewal Task Force for their innovative and collaborative approach to the challenges that face us. I look forward to our continued partnership as we support an equitable, expedient health and economic recovery for our entire region."
Connected DMV works with regional organizations across Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia -- the DMV -- to deliver regional initiatives that provide a stronger and more equitable future for all who live, learn, work, and prosper in Greater Washington. The organization’s COVID-19 Strategic Renewal Task Force focuses on accelerating the region’s economic recovery while promoting social equity. Launched last year, the Task Force convened monthly to approve 13 region-wide initiatives that address economic renewal and social equity in response to the pandemic.
“The Greater Washington region is at a historic crossroads. While it is one of the most important metropolitan areas in the world, many indicators suggest that it is lagging behind the rest of the country in terms of being a leader in economic growth, prosperity and inclusion,” said Stu Solomon President & CEO of Connected DMV. “Thankfully, we have inclusive, forward-thinking and results-driven leaders like Governor Hogan who understand now is the time to meet the moment to build a more prosperous and equitable society for everyone.”
The Maryland Department of Commerce has made a significant financial investment in support of Connected DMV’s Pandemic Prevention & Biodefense Center, which is committed to advancing solutions to help prevent and blunt the economic and societal impacts of future viral threats.
The 51-member Task Force, which includes regional leaders from the public sector, private industry, academia, and the community, also heard from a variety of participants including Brian Kenner, Head of HQ2 Policy & Economic Development at Amazon, George Mason University Assistant Professor of Sociology, Dr. Brian Levy and Trinity Washington University President Patricia McGuire.
Brian Kenner stressed the importance of transportation, mobility, and education to workforce initiatives as critical to the needs of the region for long-term equitable economic strength.
“Access to quality, multi-model public transit was one of the key drivers in Amazon’s decision to come to the region,” said Kenner. “We applaud the region’s continued investments in transportation and infrastructure. They are not only crucial for increasing community accessibility but also important to the area's economic recovery and growth.”
Dr. Levy, whose work focuses on socioeconomic inequality and its impact on the well-being of neighborhoods and urban mobility, presented new evidence showing that urban segregation not only manifests itself on multiple levels, but that residential and mobility segregation combine to concentrate affluence and poverty in ways that are more unequal and have stronger effects than previously understood.
“For the longest time, researchers assessed the economic and social vitality of a community by examining the various factors unique to that particular community, including crime, drug and poverty rates as well as access to social services and good paying jobs,” Dr. Levy said. “What we are now learning is that communities do not exist in a vacuum and that a neighborhood’s vitality is directly connected to the vitality of other neighborhoods where their residents go to visit for work and play.”
Last year, Dr. Levy and Harvard professor Robert J. Sampson and Harvard Postdoctoral Research Fellow Nolan E. Phillips published an article in American Sociological Review, where they introduced the concept of the “triple neighborhood disadvantage” (TND). This is “the notion that the vitality of any given neighborhood is a function of the conditions in neighborhoods its residents visit and are visited by, and not only its residential (or nearby) socioeconomic conditions.” Studies show that residents disproportionately visit neighborhoods that are socioeconomically similar in make-up to the ones they live in, which further widens wealth and poverty gaps.
McGuire highlighted the multiple challenges facing vulnerable segments of our society, especially Black and Latino communities that have been adversely impacted by poverty, the lack of educational opportunities and the ravages of COVID-19.
She called on Connected DMV to explore a multi-pronged, persistent approach to help achieve greater social equity in communities throughout the Greater Washington region and stressed that social equity cannot be achieved without also addressing the prevalence of poverty and racial disparities head-on.
“Prior to the pandemic’s arrival, too many impoverished communities in the DMV already lacked the basic resources and programs to participate in full economic growth,” McGuire said. “To help promote social equity and ensure that rising tides raise all boats, we must name, measure and plan to correct the chronic deficiencies that foster racism and poverty in marginalized communities, including child hunger, homelessness, adult illiteracy and lack of access to healthcare and affordable child care.”
McGuire also explained that social equity is not just an economic issue but also one of gender, as women of color bear considerable challenges when it comes to affording child care, which is prohibitively expensive in the DMV region. This, in turn, impedes a woman’s ability to move ahead at work or to pursue collegiate or professional education.
The COVID-19 Strategic Renewal Task Force’s next meeting will be on Thursday, May 20, 2021.
About Connected DMV Connected DMV is an initiatives-based, charitable 501(c)(3) organization that works with regional organizations across Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia – the DMV – to help drive ongoing improvements to social, digital, and physical infrastructure. Connected DMV focuses on initiatives that span local jurisdictions and require public-private-academia-community collaboration to best achieve the dual objectives of enduring economic health and social equity. https://www.connecteddmv.org/
Contact: Margeaux Van Horn firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 722-8930