Lead by Example in Promoting Equality
To the Editor,
Members of the Haitian, Black communities, and Latino communities are writing to demand that the city of Everett take immediate action against its executive employees involved in the racist and discriminatory comments directed at Haitians, Blacks, and other Communities of Color in Everett, after careful review of media reports that surfaced over the past few days, but that can be documented back to 2018. The partners signing and supporting this letter are calling on the city to request the termination of all parties involved in such appalling and dehumanizing behavior in an era where the entire nation is trying to reconcile its fracture social fabric and the City of Everett, home to hard-working immigrants is reeling from previous racist incidents.
Until a complete investigation determines the full extent of the city employees involved in this behavior who are still currently in their position, in violation of all ethical standards, and discriminatory practices based on race, skin color, gender and / or national origins. Further, we demand that the city refrain from any implicit or explicit, direct or indirect acts of retaliation towards individuals and or groups who have openly spoke up against these discriminatory behaviors.
“Everett’s strength lies in the diversity of its population. Over two-thirds of Everett’s population are people of color, and as such our leaders have a moral and legal responsibility to lead by example in promoting equality, equity, and overall respect toward all citizens, and vocally reject and denounce any racist discourse or behavior. The community expects more than mere expressions of regret but also a commitment to accountability.” Says the Rev. Myrlande DesRosiers, director of the Everett Haitian Community Center.
“The racism expressed by Everett officials is reprehensible,” says Brian Concannon, Executive Director – The Institute for Justice and Democracy
We unequivocally call for action to ensure that symbols of hate in any form have no home in Everett. Our hope is that this incident serves as a catalyst for meaningful change and a wake-up call to eradicate racially insensitive language and behavior both in public and private conversations. We concur with other allies in our community that: “the resignation of those who think casual racism is a joke and ignore that their power and influence lead to the systemic and exclusionary policies and budgets prevalent in our little city. For too long, excuses have been made, and opportunities for action given. No more. “
The partners involved are currently involved in a consultative process to determine all necessary venues to address this issue and meet with the officials of the City with the goal of putting Everett as a City and its communities on the path to trust and reconciliation.
• The Everett Haitian Community Center (The EHCC) – The Rev. Myrlande DesRosiers
• IFSI – Immigrant Family Institute – The North Shore Coalition – Géralde Gabeau
• The Institute for Justice and Democracy – Brian Concannon
• NAACP – Medford Branch Mr. Henry Milorin
• Everett Youth Net Coalition
• Charlot Lucien, Public Health Administrator
• The Rev. Keke Fleurissaint – Association of Haitian Pastors of New England
• The Rian Immigrant Center
• Chair of La Comunidad, Inc. – Edwin Argueta
• Irish International Immigration Center – Ronnie Miller
• At-Large Boston City Councilor Ruthzee Louijeune
• The HAU – Haitian American United, Inc.
• True Alliance Health Center, Rev. Dieufort Fleurissaint
• Church of God of Unity – The Rev. Guival Mercedat
• The U.S. Haitian Chamber of Commerce,Inc. / Business Expo – Hans Innocent
• Priya Tahiliani, Educator in Everett
• Gerly Adrien – former Everett City Counccilor
• Jean Claude Sanon – Radio host
• Attorney Fred Capone – Former Everett City Councilor
• Eddy Toussaint Tontongi, Writer, Editor of Trilingual Press
• Geurline Alcy – Everett Resident
• Attorney Kerby Roberson – Haitian Chamber of Commerce
• Cory McCarthy – Chief Equity Officer EHS
• Franklin Dalambert – Everett resident – IFSI Program Director
• Samantha Lambert – Everett School Committee At-Large
Maura Healey MA Attorney General
Lawyers For Civil Rights-Boston
The US Commission on Civil Rights
We Need Your Help and Support
Portal To Hope (PTH), the award-winning nonprofit organization serving domestic violence crime victims in Everett, Lynn, Medford, Malden, Winthrop and neighboring Massachusetts communities, is facing a 27% budget cut effective July 1. Already operating as a small-funded nonprofit, PTH relies on $179,900 in federal funding from the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) to serve an average of 900 people each year.
Drastic cuts to VOCA will leave PTH to operate on $131,490 in fiscal year 2023 – a severe reduction. Considering that PTH spends less than 5% on administrative costs where its management team already volunteers time to carry-out administrative functions in order to dedicate funds for direct care service programs, the 27% budget cut will strap the organization and eliminate its Emergency Shelter program. “In talking with the public, they are as perplexed as we are as to why government keeps cutting funding to agencies serving some of our most vulnerable community members – especially when they realize all the helpful services that we provide,” said Linda Morris, a survivor who has been sharing her time as a Victim Advocate at PTH for seventeen years. “As a survivor whose own life was impacted by a family member killed by her abuser, I struggle to understand why PTH and similar agencies are forced to beg for funding every year,” said Morris.
VOCA funding is administered by the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA); and MOVA announced that 124 programs and 220 victim services jobs across the Commonwealth are impacted by the drastic cuts to VOCA funds. “A state investment is critically needed to sustain and stabilize victim services across the Commonwealth to continue supporting victims and survivors,” announced MOVA.
PTH’s Founder, Deborah Fallon, a survivor of violent crime, is appreciative of the work that MOVA and the Victim and Witness Assistance Board (VWAB), which is chaired by Attorney General Maura Healey, are doing in partnership with the Massachusetts Legislature to bridge the funding gap via the “VOCA Bridge Act”. “MOVA and VWAB have been outstanding partners in our work serving people impacted by violent crime,” said Fallon. “Every person has the right to live free from abuse, and while PTH and like programs are already inundated and focused-in on providing direct care services to people, we look to MOVA, VWAB and our legislators as our advocates in helping us to remain fully funded.”
MOVA announced that the Massachusetts Legislature named a Conference Committee to “reconcile differences between the House and Senate final budgets”. Conference Committee members are: Representatives Michlewitz, Ferrante, and Smola and Senators Rodrigues, Friedman, and O’Connor. MOVA continues to advocate for a fully-funded VOCA Bridge to sustain services for victims and survivors and is “requesting that the Conference Committee maintain the $20M investment included in the House budget to bridge one-year of impending cuts” to VOCA funded programs for fiscal year 2023.
To help support these efforts, please call PTH (781) 338-7678 or email [email protected] “Over the course of our own lives, many of us, unfortunately, will know of someone whose life has been impacted by domestic violence crime. We are reaching-out to people to call their legislators to ask that they support the fully-funded intentions of the VOCA Bridge Act passed by the Massachusetts House,” said Fallon. “We appreciate the public’s support.” For more information about MOVA, please visit www.mass.gov/mova. For more information about PTH, please visit www.portaltohope.org.
Portal To Hope