AASP 201 Assignment Description: You are a citizen of the state of Maryland. A bill has been proposed in the state legislature to create a new license

AASP 201 Assignment Description: You are a citizen of the state of Maryland. A bill has been proposed in the state legislature to create a new license plate series called “Enslaved African Americans.”

AASP 201

Assignment Description:

You are a citizen of the state of Maryland. A bill has been proposed in the state legislature to create a new license plate series called “Enslaved African Americans.” In addition to the state name and the plate number, the first plate will include an image of Harriett Tubman with the message below it, “Remember the Past.” Additional plates may be introduced in the future featuring images of Frederick Douglass and other African Americans who were enslaved in Maryland.

News about the proposed license plate has generated support and opposition among Marylanders. Some argue the new plate will be too divisive and create a negative image of the state in the minds of other Americans who are not from Maryland. They claim the license plate focuses too much on the past and the state needs to move forward. They also think the growing controversy over the license plate will be bad for attracting new businesses and newcomers to the state. Some have voiced fears of the impact the new license plate will have on their children’s well-being.

Supporters on the other hand argue the state has not done enough to acknowledge the impact of slavery in its past and needs to do more to educate its current and potential citizens. They maintain the new license plate series is a small step in the right direction. They also argue it will send a powerful message to other states to examine their histories of slavery, segregation, and exclusion.

Step One – Written Testimony:

For your written testimony, students should think of 4 main points they want to convey to the legislative committee. Try to avoid jargon and personalize your testimony instead. What will the license plate mean to you? What message will it send to your community and other drivers in and outside of the state?

Step Two – Written Testimony:

Your written testimony will contain a header, salutation, 1st paragraph, 2nd paragraph, 3rd paragraph, and final paragraph. It will be 1-2 double-spaced pages in length:

Header: Your name and any community association or organization you represent. Include the name and/or number of the proposed bill and a brief statement of your position.

Salutation: Address the committee in a formal way (“Dear Madam or Sir”)

First Paragraph: Identify yourself, where you are from, and if you represent a community or organization. Be sure to name any position you hold within the organization or if you have any elected position within the community. If you are representing a neighborhood, you should mention the number of constituents or homes you are representing. At the end of the paragraph, state in one sentence the purpose of your testimony and your position on the issue.

Second Paragraph: State and explain the main points you developed in Step One above. Make sure to include how this debate over the license plate impacts you and your community.

Third Paragraph: Offer positive suggestions or alternative strategies for how to resolve the issue and address concerns that others who oppose the bill may have.

Final Paragraph: Thank the committee for allowing you the opportunity to speak and voice your concerns. Ask them to support your position.

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