Congresswoman Pressley Tours Everett High School; First Black Leader To Do So

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (left) and
EHS student Sarai Velez

Pressley Visit A “Spectacular “ Success

By Josh Resnek

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley came to Everett last week.

She spent three hours touring Everett High School with school officials.

She observed first hand how an average school day looks and feels for EHS students.

Her visit aided in making a charity event a huge success, according to school officials.

Pressley visited EHS during its special Charity for Children with Hair Loss event, which was conceived by student and cancer survivor Sarai Velez. Dozens of students, teachers, and staff donated their hair for children with cancer and alopecia (an autoimmune disease that attacks hair follicles). Pressley is one of the nearly seven million Americans who live with alopecia, and she has used her position to positively raise awareness and compassion about the physical and emotional toll the disease exacts.

She received quite a lively reception. This is to say, Congresswoman Pressley isn’t just another congressman

She is a celebrity and a star, and is among the most well known and outspoken members of congress when the congress is not exactly held up as anything special by the American public.

Pressley is a powerful Black woman in the prime of her political life.

If you are not Black, it is impossible to imagine the sense of pride Pressley experienced touring a nearly all Black and Brown high school at a time Everett is at a racial crossroads.

According to those who toured the high school with Pressley, there was no talk about racism in Everett. No discussion about the racist attitudes of some councilors and of the mayor himself.

The mayor chose not to tour the high school with Pressley.

The mayor not touring EHS with Pressley raises more questions than it answers as the mayor is a voting member of the School Committee.

He has not attended a School Committee meeting since the beginning of the new year.

Maybe the high school tour and the charity event weren’t the prop- er time or place to talk about racism with a prominent, outspoken member of congress who is Black.

Maybe an opportunity was missed. Maybe not.

The Leader Herald reached out last week to Pressley’s communications director asking for a response from the congresswoman concerning the now ongoing citywide debate about racism.

Pressley’s congressional district, which includes Everett, is uniquely more Black than white.

Pressley’s office did not reply to the request for comment.

Pressley rose to Congress on the largely Black vote in the September 2018 Democratic primary. She brought out the Black vote as never before.

She swept out of office longtime Congressman Mike Capuano.

She is the first African American woman elected to represent Massachusetts in Congress.

She is an informal member of a group of a congressional trio known as “The Squad.”

The Squad is arguably the most progressive group among the progressives in Congress pushing for Medicare for all and the Green New Deal.

She regards herself as a “woman of faith” who “grew up in the church.”

According to the Wikipedia portion of her biography titled, Personal Life, she never learned how to drive and continues to use other means of transport. She has been public about her experience as a survivor of child

sexual abuse and was also reportedly sexually assaulted while a student at Boston University.

In January 2020, Pressley revealed that she had been diagnosed with alopecia areata, resulting in the loss of all of her hair; she said in a public announcement, “I want to be freed from the secret and the shame that that secret carries with it.”

Her visit last week to EHS for a charity event conceived by the high students to call attention to alopecia aids Pressley in revealing the secret, living with it, and moving on.

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