The familiar blue, yellow and green Brazilian flag might hang in two out of three storefront businesses in Everett, but the flag had never flown over City Hall before – until last Thursday.
Mayor Carlo DeMaria, School Committeeman Marcony Almeida Barros and Councilor Stephanie Martins joined a host of friends, City officials and well-wishers to celebrate the 198th anniversary of Brazilian independence by flying the flag over Everett City Hall for the first time ever.
Brazilians have made up more and more of the population of the United States over the last several years, and in 2018, 10,538 Brazilians were naturalized as American Citizens. Massachusetts is a hotbed for Brazilian immigrants, second only behind Florida in numbers. Of that Middlesex County has the second most concentrated population of Brazilians in the United States – which includes Everett and Framingham.
In the Everett Public Schools, the numbers of Brazilian students has skyrocketed and Portuguese speakers in the schools are second only to Spanish speakers.
School Committeeman Almeida Barros said that isn’t lost on him, and he noted that six of the new Family Liaisons hired recently to assist school community families are Brazilian. He said when he could have never imagined when he came to Everett many years ago that he would be the first Brazilian American elected to the Everett School Committee.
“I am proud of that, not for myself, but for the community that I represent,” he said.
But he also said raising the Brazilian flag does not mean he isn’t proud to be an American also.
“We are here as one – as one community,” he said. “Being here and raising the Brazilian flag doesn’t make me less American. I am Brazilian by birth and proudly American by choice.”
Mayor Carlo DeMaria said he was honored to be there with his wife, Stacy, to raise the flag over City Hall for the first time – showing the City is a welcoming place to everyone.
“When people see this flag in our city, it is my hope they will know Everett is welcoming for everyone and will remain that way indefinitely,” he said.
“I hope this is the first of what will be many, many celebrations of Brazilian independence and raising this flag,” he added.
Councilor Martins is the first Brazilian American to be elected to the Council, and she said it was something she took great pride in knowing that those who came before her worked hard so that the younger generation could be at the decision-making table.
“The City of Everett is the home of one of the largest Brazilian populations,” she said. “We are thankful to be able to call Everett our Home — where the people who built the foundation of this city extended Everett’s mission of pride, progress, and possibilities to the Brazilian community, so today we can also be a part of the building of this city. The many businesses that brought life to our storefronts, our entrepreneurs, renters, homeowners. The Brazilian community is now also part of the making of this city.
“Our parents who scrubbed toilets, cleaned houses, washed dishes, worked in construction and performed manual labor that they never imagined doing before, can now contemplate the first generation of college graduates, elected officials, army veterans, and police officers…This country gave so much to us and now we are giving back,” she continued.
State Sen. Sal DiDomenico said Brazilians have led the way in being ‘One Everett.’
“When I look around our city, state and country, there’s a lot happening now,” he said. “We can combat all that’s going on by sticking together with every ethnic group and everyone who wants to be a part of our community – One Everett – and Brazilians have led the way on that.”
Following the presentation, City officials gathered as the Brazilian Anthem was played, and the flag was raised on the ceremonial flag pole. Then, Brazilian music and dancing was provided outdoors by Grooversity.