Adrien calls for racial reform, justice

Newly elected Everett City Councilor Gerly Adrien speaks to the room during her election celebration party at Braza Bar And Grill January 11, 2020. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso)

Gets little support from fellow city councilors


When it comes to going public on the great issues of the day, Councilor Gerly Adrien leads her colleagues on the city council and goes to places where most of them do not wish to venture.

In what she refers to as her end of September Update to residents, Adrien decried racism, highlighting the Breonna Taylor murder during a mistaken police drug raid, asked for the advance of police reform and equity “even though I get backlash because it is crucial to have uncomfortable conversations to change what we have going in Everett.”

In public and private conversations, the mayor and some of her council colleagues, have complained that Adrien is not suitable as an Everett voice because she doesn’t carry the party line.

As the first woman of color to serve on the Everett City Council, Adrien has been blazing a trail all of her own during her first nine months in office.

Her conversations about racism in the public forum have not sat well with her colleagues, or the mayor, who has distanced himself from her and who basically excludes her from city debates, celebration and announcements he tries to manipulate and control.

The mayor’s thinly disguised misogyny – his dislike and contempt for assertive women as well as his ingrained prejudice against women – is now affecting him in ways he could not have imagined just two years ago.

The last council was all-white.

The present council includes Adrien, a Haitian, Stephanie Martins, a Brazilian and Jimmy Tri Le, a Vietnamese.

Adrien’s desire to confront issues and to discuss them before the city council infuriates some of her colleagues.

“She just goes too far,” said a councilor who wished to remain unnamed.

“She doesn’t go far enough,” said a colleague who also wished to remain unnamed.

“That being said, I like watching her make the others feel uncomfortable when she talks about racism, sexism, and misogyny,” the colleague added.

Adrien’s recent comments on the city’s bloated budget sets her apart from her colleagues, except for Councilor Fred Capone who also expressed difficulties with accepting some of the spending measures in the mayor’s new magnum opus budget.

“All I hope for is that my council colleagues can understand the real issues and concerns that Everett residents have now and may have in the future and figure out legislation to help them. As legislators, our job, is to create/amend city laws to help our city for everyone. I have received lots of push back so far, but I will continue fighting,” Adrien wrote in her message to residents distributed widely last weekend among Everett residents. Adrien is asking that the Everett Police Department will shift more funding to help with the top 911 calls that are non-criminal, such as homelessness, addiction, drunkenness, and mental well-being check ins.

She is also working on diversity issues, such as giving her voice to the belief that the city workforce does not represent the cultural and ethnic make-up of the city’s population here.

Despite the mayor’s assertions that he’s not a racist, the city employment figures reveal a largely white workforce with no effort to engage in diversity.

To that end, Adrien has pushed the mayor to hire a director of diversity, which is now being advertised.

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