Last week, some of us listened to the online vigil for George Floyd carried on Zoom and put on by the mayor and Councilor at Large Gerly Adrien.
Adrien’s remarks, as expected, were stunning.
She said things that we do not believe we have heard ever from anyone in public office in Everett in its modern era.
In essence, she did something the US Attorney has failed to do.
She indicted the mayor, claiming the city’s employees in nearly every department, are mostly white, with very few Black and brown skinned people as well as very few Hispanics.
She included all the departments – and what is terrible about this – she is right.
The mayor plays lip service to the city’s minorities.
He praises minorities on the one hand.
He does not like minorities. He does not hire minorities on the other.
But who in the city government other than Adrien is going to stand up and be heard against the mayor’s racist hiring practice?
When will the city government here look like and truly represent the bulk of the residents living here?
One would think those wishing to run against the mayor the next time out would take this opportunity to stand up for what is just and right, especially in view of Floyd’s tragic and unnecessary death and how it has set off a fire storm of controversy and protest about racism and police violence against Blacks.
For those elected to serve here, it would be less a statement about local politics than it would be a statement against racism here and everywhere and what is clearly right and what is unmistakably wrong.
The mayor’s silence about his support for systemic racism here is deafening.
The mayor’s unwillingness and inability to open up city employee ranks here to Blacks and browns is a sin. It is a sure sign that other forms of passive and aggressive racism exist in the conduct of his administration.
During this time of deep national thought and protest about who we are and what we are about, the mayor needs to change his ways.
An all-white city government, almost without a few notable exceptions, reveals of the mayor and his racism that he is more like President Donald Trump than Joe Biden.
The city government should put the mayor on the spot about his racist tendencies in hiring city employees.
Others need to stand up and be counted in his absence. Councilor at Large Gerly Adrien is not afraid to do so.
But she is Black.
If she did not complain, she would be a failure here to everyone struggling to better themselves, Black and white, brown skinned and whatever.
It is little wonder she topped the ticket last November. The entire city elected her. The city is a rapidly changing place.
Why should Black brown and Hispanic residents in this mixed-race working-class city of immigrants be treated any differently than white people given the edge every time by the mayor?
In more than a decade in office, the city has changed but the mayor has not changed his racist attitudes or hiring policies with it.
His hiring record proves this.
His attitude remains buried in the memories of the largely white Everett he grew up in.
In his mind and in his friend’s minds, the city was a better place than it is today.
Working to keep the city workforce white, handling city hall as though it is the administrative center of a plantation does not cut it these days.
The mayor’s racism is an embarrassment.
It is not legal or just. It is not right.
He needs to do something to correct the racial imbalance
about it right away or he should resign or be removed so that someone else can lead the way.
At the very least, he should stop claiming he likes and respects Blacks and brown people.
Where is the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination when you need it!