By Josh Resnek
Anti-Black racist memes sent by Councilor Anthony DiPierro to a city official and to several others using his Instagram account has caused a great deal of discussion among city officials that he stepped over a line. Many residents, and especially among those in the Black and brown community here apparently feel insulted and let down by such unbecoming behavior by a city councilor.
One of the memes DiPierro sent out included the N-word spelled, “N_ggers.”
The Leader Herald is in possession of the Instagram post which was sent from DiPierro’s account.
“Outrageous!” Councilor Mike Marchese said of DiPierro’s Instagram messaging.
“Anthony needs to look deep into his soul and do the right thing,” Marchese added.
He suggested the entire council take up the matter as “the moral and right thing to do.”
Former city councilor at large and candidate for mayor Gerly Adrien said she and many others in the Haitian community were upset by the memes DiPierro had sent out anti-Black racist memes.
“DiPierro should resign immediately,” Adrien demanded.
Councilor at Large Stephanie Smith told the Leader Herald she was surprised and let down by such behavior.
“If this is true, it is extremely disappointing,” she added.
DiPierro did not return a request from the Leader Herald asking for a comment from him. The mayor, who has repeatedly denied he is a racist, did not answer a request from the Leader Herald.
More surprising was the lack of a comment from the city’s chief equity officer, Cathy Draine.
Draine was appointed by the mayor earlier this year to serve the city as the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Draine is responsible for issues great and small regarding racism and exclusivity as it applies to the city’s robust Black, brown and largely immigrant non-English speaking community.
Cory McCarthy is the School Department’s equivalent of Draine. He is the chief equity officer.
“If these memes were done by a sitting member of the Everett city council, they are indeed out of the playbook of racism and white supremacist culture. This should be condemned by every elected public official in the city. It is an outrage,” McCarthy told the Leader Herald.
“Anyone who is passing this around and sharing racist memes targeting their black colleagues should immediately resign. And he should seek a reevaluation his moral consciousness,” he added.
Following the appearance of the story detailing the meme in last week’s Leader Herald, School Superintendent Priya Tahiliani wrote a short statement titled, “I sincerely hope this is untrue.”
“As an educator, I am devastated to think about what this says to our students in Everett and students everywhere, who should all feel safe and assured their elected officials are always motivated by compassion and advocacy and never by hatred and bias,” Tahiliani wrote.
Sources familiar with the inner workings of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination have told the Leader Herald, the MCAD is caving into political pressure and is not likely to hear the sexism and racism complaint Tahiliani filed in January against the mayor.