While Everett consistently ranks among the most diverse cities and towns in Massachusetts, its City Council has been historically homogenous with residents and lawmakers alike lamenting the lack of diverse representation.
Voters proved in November that they were ready for change, and that change was evident as the new City Council took its seats on Monday, January 13, for the first meeting of the new session.
Prior to January 1, the 11-member body of elected officials was 100 percent white and more than 90 percent male. Seventy-two percent of members were over the age of 60, and nearly all (81 percent) were over the age of 50, with only Councilors Michael McLaughlin and Anthony DiPierro coming in under 40. In addition, no councilor could communicate fluently in a language other than English except for Councilwoman Rosa DiFlorio, who speaks Italian. She was also the only Council member born outside of the United States, having immigrated from Italy.
A much different picture was painted on Monday night, when Councilors Gerly Adrien, Stephanie Martins and Jimmy Tri Le took their seats alongside Council veterans. Fully 45 percent of the new council is under the age of 40. Twenty-seven percent of the members are female, and 18 percent are immigrants. Languages now spoken on the board include Spanish, Portuguese and Vietnamese. Everett immigrant communities now represented include Haitian, Vietnamese and Brazilian. Twenty-seven percent of members are non-white, with self-identified racial representation including Black, Asian and Latina.
In his midterm address on Jan. 6, Mayor Carlo DeMaria praised the diversity of the new City Council, saying he hopes that it will work with him to ensure that all Everett residents are counted in the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census regardless of their race, language or country of origin.
Diversity can take many forms including religion, ability, sexual orientation, education and income. Interestingly, Boston also just seated its most diverse City Council since its establishment in 1910, including the first Latina and the first openly gay woman – making the changes in Everett also a regional trend.