After hearing from a dozen local residents who spoke during the Public Participation part of the City Council meeting on Monday night calling for the resignation of Ward 3 Councilor Anthony DiPierro, citing the racist meme that appeared on his Instagram account, City Councilors later in the meeting could not agree to approve a resolution condemning racism and affirming the Everett City Council’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusive education and practices.
The resolution was written by Councilors Stephanie Martins and Vivian Nguyen, and initially was signed onto by Councilors Stephanie Smith, Irene Cardillo and Richard J. Dell Isola, Jr.
However, after reading the preamble, Smith, Cardillo and Dell Isola asked that their names be removed as co-sponsors.
“I will vote no on this,” said Smith. “I condemn racism, (but) I don’t call out my colleagues on the record.”
Councilor Michael Marchese was irate over his name being listed on the resolution calling it “a cheap shot.”
“I have not said one comment about anyone stepping down, and then throw this cheap crap at me?” he said. “I don’t hide nothing. This is really a cheap shot. All this does is divide the city. You should be ashamed of yourself.”
Martins, in defending the resolution, said, “All racism is unacceptable and I am proud of what we worked on.”
“This needs to be reworded,” said Councilor Wayne Matewsky. “I hope that no one is a racist. This is a good city and it is not perfect. People have made a mistake. Where does it end?”
“This needs a lot more work,” said Cardillo. “We need more than words, we need action.”
However, Nguyen responded, “It is important to mention names and specifics in the resolution.”
In the end, the resolution was referred back to the sponsors who have the option to reword it and submit a revised resolution.
The resolution reads as follows:
In The Year Two Thousand And Twenty Two
Resolution Condemning Racism And Affirming The Everett City Council’s Commitment To Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion Education And Practices
Councilor/s/ Stephanie Martins, Vivian Nguyen, Richard DellIsola, Irene Cardillo, Stephanie Smith
WHEREAS messages where a variation of a Black racial slur was used to make derogatory references and degrading jokes at the expense of the Black community sent by Councilor DiPierro have recently surfaced, and;
WHEREAS several recent social media posts by Councilor Marchese have surfaced reflecting racist, misogynist, transphobic messages, some of which include a historically dehumanizing portrayal of Vice President Kamala Harris and undocumented immigrants, and;
WHEREAS the conduct of distributing racist content, whether in a public or private setting, is intolerable and unacceptable for any sitting elected official;
WHEREAS upholding this expectation is especially important for elected officials in Everett, a city with a majority-minority population, because it sets a tone that alienates residents and normalizes hatred, and;
WHEREAS the Everett City Charter only automatically removes elected members from office upon being convicted of a felony, existing members who engage in practices of racist nature shall recognize their biases and analyze their suitability to represent a diverse community; and;
WHEREAS it is our duty to make sure our residents feel safe and included in their communities
WHEREAS we urgently must act to stop the racial injustice that harms and anguishes people of color, who are our family, friends, neighbors, students, staff members, and fellow residents;
WHEREAS we must continue to listen and engage in crucial self-reflection as we listen to those who have endured discrimination and intolerance who deserve to be heard as they share the stories and truth about their experiences and feelings, and we must seek with great empathy to understand their challenges and their pain;
WHEREAS we must work together to support a shared conviction that racism must end, and;
WHEREAS each of us, individually and collectively, is responsible for creating and nurturing an anti-racist environment where every human is respected and valued for who they are, regardless of their skin color. We must continue to actively acknowledge, address and prevent racial bias that occurs as a result of division policies, practices and actions;
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we, members of the Everett City Council condemn all forms of racism and hate in our city and our society, and we reaffirm our commitment to fostering an inclusive environment where every community member is treated with dignity and respect.
We commit to completing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training as recommended by the Human Resources Department, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the Diversity, Equity, and Equal Opportunity Employment Commission within the next 6 months, and to learn and adopt restorative justice practices in policy.
We commit to abiding by the Rules of Conduct for the City Council in its entirety.
We commit to conducting a Racial Equity Impact Assessment of the City of Everett’s public policies and budgets in order to identify ways to maximize equity and inclusion and minimize adverse and unanticipated impacts.
We, members of the Everett City Council, take this opportunity to implement such actionable items with the goal of building power in community safety and inclusion.