Will Jawando

County Councilmember

Montgomery County, MD

Described as “the progressive leader we need” by revered civil rights activist and Congressman John Lewis. Will has worked with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Sherrod Brown, and then-Senator Barack Obama. During the 8-year Obama Administration, Will had the honor of serving as Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, followed by a position as an advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in the U.S. Department of Education. He has worked tirelessly to ensure a quality education, opportunities for prosperity and guaranteed civil rights are available to every American.

In 2017, he spearheaded Summer R.I.S.E., a summer job shadowing program in partnership with Worksource Montgomery, state and county government, and Montgomery County Public Schools that placed over 400 high school students in enriching career experiences.

Will has served as co-leader of the African-American Student Achievement Action Group (AASAG) which works with MCPS and the community to advocate for strategies to close opportunity and achievement gaps for African American students in Montgomery County Public Schools. In 2014, he founded Our Voices Matter, Maryland, a social justice non-profit that works with all communities to develop broader civic engagement, grassroots activism, and leadership. Will is also a co-founder of the African Immigrant Caucus (AIC) whose mission is to increase civic engagement, economic development and political participation of Africans in the diaspora, in Maryland, D.C.and Virginia.

As the former Director of Corporate and Government Affairs at Discovery Communications, he oversaw the development of public-private partnerships that would aid in STEM opportunities for Maryland’s youth.

Pro-Growth Progressive Ideas Shared

Problem

Police-involved deaths are frequently in the national headlines. Where racial profiling and bias in policing is common, this is the worst possible outcome. In Montgomery Co., the impetus for the passage of the LETT Act was the June 11, 2018 shooting death of Robert White, an unarmed 41-year-old resident with a known history of mental health issues, at the hands of a county police officer. In a case where racial profiling and bias played a role, police attempted to stop Mr. White as he walked near his Silver Spring home, killing him in a parking lot during the confrontation. We need to create more trust and transparency in the aftermath of these incidents, not just for the rights of residents but for the safety of law enforcement officers.

Solution

The LETT Act mandates independent investigations and a public report following any police-involved death. This will rebuild the trust lost between local law enforcement and the community -- a critical bridge to promote community policing, and reducing crime before it occurs. The LETT Act addresses rebuilds trust between police and the community by requiring new levels of transparency in a critical area: deadly force. Investigators from an independent law enforcement entity deliver their findings to the County State’s Attorney where if charges not be brought, a public report out will occur. Our residents deserve to know what happened in these cases, and we should embrace outside investigations to protect against the potential for bias.