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Board seeks diversity in city hiring

Bishop Brown will not be intimidated by anyone

By JOSH RESNEK

The city of Everett lags behind in hiring brown and black people, Brazilians and Southeast Asians, and people of ethnicity like Puerto Ricans and Central Americans.

The Everett city roster of blacks and brown and immigrant people is an offense to the notion of integration.

The city employee roster is largely, mostly almost entirely white.

It looks like a Norman Rockwell 1960’s oil painting depicting the typical white American family seated around a sumptuous Thanksgiving turkey dinner at a beautifully set table with happy white smiling faces all enjoying the holiday.

No official counts are kept but it is estimated that the city employs about six black and brown people out of a roster of about 800.

The disparity between black and white and ethnics employed by the School Department is another gap that needs to be bridged.

Enter into this lopsided mix Everett’s bridge builder for the past 40 years, Bishop Brown of the Zion Church.

The city’s most noted black pastor is no stranger to racism and exclusion.

He was recently appointed the chair of the Diversity, Equity and Equal Employment Commission by the mayor.

“We have made some strides,” he said during an interview earlier this week.

“We want the doors to continue to open. We do not want this city to have a racist atmosphere,” he added.

As the head of the new commission, he leads a diverse group of Everett residents and officials, Councilor at Large Gerly Adrien chief among them.

When it comes to city hall intransigence about hiring minorities in the past and of minorities not being offered jobs or being denied jobs today, Adrien grows impatient and short. The rank and file Everett residents she represents are with her completely.

Many of her colleagues who do not say such things privately, refer to Adrien as wanting to go too fast, too far, and that she is too aggressive, especially about the race issue.

“She’s making a lot of enemies,” one of her council colleagues told the Leader Herald.

Adrien is undeterred by those who believe she should quiet down and to take injustice gracefully and with respect.

Adrien has been adamant about pursuing changes in Everett city hall’s hiring practices.

“City hall is advertising four major positions right now that are being interviewed. Are minorities being considered for these positions? Is the city reaching out? I don’t think so,” Adrien added.

What she didn’t say is that she has no belief in the mayor when it comes to solving Everett’s racism and that the commission is the mayor’s ruse to give the appearance he is doing something to combat persistent racism in hiring practices at Everett city hall.

Bishop Brown believes the commission can aid the city in moving more justly forward.

Adrien takes a different view.

“The commission is just a band-aid. It is not an effective group,” she said.

Bishop Brown sees its use differently.

“I’m praying and believing we can equal the playing field.”

A few Adrien supporters insisted that Bishop Brown had made some sort of deal with the mayor.

“The mayor wants to blunt Adrien’s message. What better way to do this than by enlisting Bishop Brown into his band of followers?” asked an Adrien loyalist who wished to remain unnamed.

Is Bishop Brown being used by the mayor to stifle Adrien?

“I’m not manipulated by anyone,” he told the Leader Herald

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