I Came To Everett On A Calling; Others Felt Invaded By My Presence

By Josh Resnek

When Reverend Mimi Daniel came to live in Everett 14 years ago, she came here to save a dying congregation on Church Street.

She threw herself into her work.

She said being Black and Haitian, and speaking with an accent in Everett, rarely made her work easier for her among the white population at the time.

She said the situation has not improved during the past few years as the divide between Blacks and whites reached the new divide.

It is disheartening, she said, of the racism claims that have recently come to surface among the leadership at Everett city hall.

She recalled with simplicity and composure during an interview at the Leader Herald offices on Saturday afternoon, that she was met by racism and contempt when she first arrived, and she admitted, “I’ve had some really bad experiences throughout my time in the city.”

She said she was not shocked to learn that city hall is being investigated by the Federal government for racism, discrimination and retaliation.

She says she has been affected negatively by all three during her time in Everett.

Reverend Mimi, whose real name is Myreille, speaks softly in slightly broken English. She is a thoughtful, polite, God fearing Christian woman who believes.

Like most Haitians who have come to live here and to call this city their home, she is inclined to obey the laws, to respect public leaders because of the honor their positions are supposed to imply, and to follow the straight and true.

“I just wish the leaders would follow the straight and true as I do,” she said.

Reverend Mimi lives in the parsonage, or the rectory of the church at 52 Church Street. She has lived there with her family since moving to the home in 2008.

She has never missed a rent payment, she told the Leader Herald.

“Our most recent rent check was cashed last week,” she noted.

With her husband Pastor Paul Daniel also present for this interview, she detailed her feelings about the treatment she is receiving and ‘what I am going through.”

Neither Reverend Mimi nor Pastor Paul spoke with much detail about the legal battles they are facing except to say they believed they were being treated unfairly by a system that is weighted against them.

“It is a court matter. Our lawyer has told us not speak publicly about it,” they said.

What they chose to speak about, and at length, is the racist treatment they claim they have received in what they believed to be a multi-cultural city where everyone got along with everyone else.

“The last two years have been like hell,” Reverend Mimi said.

“You have no idea what I’m going through,” she added.

She said she has been amazed by the negativity towards “who we are.”

She said she was very disappointed “how people have been treating us.”

“The situation for us is really in a state of decline,” she said.

She said was having difficulty understanding how the system works at city hall.

“We have been trying to stay away from trouble. We have been minding our own business. We believe everyone should be treated fairly – but they aren’t,” she said.

Pastor Paul Daniel said Black people and Haitians need support. (Photo by Joseph Resnek)

“Other people are feeling invaded by our presence. We should be treated like everyone else. But we aren’t.”

Her husband Pastor Paul said he has felt welcome in Everett. However, he added, “I have had some bad experiences.”

“Many white people look at us not as human beings but as Blacks and Haitians. Some people and officials here have a tendency to look at me and to judge me by the color of my skin and by the accent I speak with as though my color and accent are things I should be ashamed of,” Pastor Paul commented.

“I know who I am and what I am about. I can take the racism because I know of my own worth. No one can take this away from me,” he added.

The Daniels spoke about life in Everett. They said the system tends to work better for whites than for Blacks.

“We’re not connected to the right people,” they said about the system in force at city hall.

“When you are connected with the right people nothing happens to you. When you are not connected to the right people even people who are connected want to help you but can’t because of the retaliation they would experience,” Pastor Paul told the Leader Herald.

“The mayor needs to intervene. The mayor needs to step in. The leader of the city must be the most powerful voice against racism and discrimination and retaliation – but he isn’t. The mayor is supposed to be the mayor of all the people – but he isn’t. We are not dumb Black Haitians as some like to call us,” he said.

‘Racism, discrimination and retaliation should not be allowed. The mayor must strongly condemn all that. He must look into and act against such crimes – but he doesn’t.”

They are aware of the US Attorney’s probe of racism in Everett. They approve of it.

The Daniels both spoke out against racism and retaliation last Monday during the public speaking session of the city council meeting.

The following Friday, the Daniels were served with eviction papers – even though they had paid their rent.

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