School Committeeman Marcony Almeida Barros has taken to the podium at City and School events – and even state events for the Attorney General’s Office – many times, but none were as intensely personal as when he stepped to the microphone on Monday afternoon as the City’s first openly gay elected official to see the Pride flag raised for the first time in City history.
“For me as the first openly gay man elected in the City’s history, it is a special moment today,” he said. “It’s been a long journey since the Stonewall riots on June 28, 1969…Since that fight, the fight for equal rights brought marriage equality rights to Massachusetts in 2004. That is the year I met my husband in City Hall – right behind us. I arrived from Brazil to Everett and met my Everett born husband in Everett City Hall…It is a special moment not only for me as a gay man, but for the City also.”
On Monday, the City of Everett held their 1st Annual Pride Flag raising ceremony in honor of Pride Month. Led by Mayor Carlo DeMaria, the ceremony featured a short speaking program, and then the raising of the flag on the ceremonial pole outside the Church Street entrance.
“The City of Everett has come a long way – I am proud to stand with you today as we turn a corner as a community,” said the mayor, noting that the first time the flag was raised was 41 years ago in San Francisco. “Everett is a melting pot of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. In Everett- everyone is accepted, welcomed, and at home.”
The flag will be flown on the Church Street entrance of Everett City Hall throughout the month of June.
City officials, Mayor DeMaria, Senator Sal DiDomenico, Representative Joe McGonagle and Almeida Barros all spoke in front of a crowd of approximately 50 people.
Sen. Sal DiDomenico talked about his fight to pass the Transgender Bill in the State House only a few short years ago, and the pushback he got from within the Legislature and within parts of the community.
“It seems like an easy decision today, but at the time it was not,” he said. “I spoke on the floor in favor and said it’s time to change the word fear to the word fair. That’s exactly what we do.
Mayor DeMaria spoke about the recent Supreme Court decision that affirmed that an employee cannot be fired or removed simply because of his or her sexual orientation. That ruling came only two weeks ago, but it elicited a lot of discussion in Monday’s comments.
“The fight is not over,” said the mayor. “Now more than ever, we must come together in unity with members of our community. We all must advocate for equality for everyone. LGBTQ rights are human rights,” Mayor DeMaria said.
Almeida Barros said his message for the day was to the LGBTQ youth – who are found to be more at risk of suicide than their peers.
“My message today is for our LGBTQ youth,” he said. “Be proud of who you are. Do not let someone tell you that you aren’t important. You are.”