Lunch and Learn is a monthly program created and moderated by the City of Everett’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Cathy Draine. It allows City employees to come together, share ideas and experiences, and discuss new topics while enjoying lunch from a local Everett business. The series is a part of the City’s commitment to engage, educate and elevate. This month’s lunch was provided by local restaurant Roxy’s Bakery and Café.
The special guest speaker was Pastor Edsel Cadet. He is a pastor for the Cambridge Seventh-Day Adventist Church and a clinical mental health counselor. He has served as the pastor of the church for the past seven years and is committed to building strong communities and being a leader in helping people from diverse backgrounds work together for positive and lasting change.
Cadet has also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, a master’s in Divinity and a master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a concentration in couples and family therapy with an emphasis on African and Caribbean mental health.
During the program, Cadet educated City employees about microaggressions, which are verbal, nonverbal and environmental snubs or insults. These insults can carry unintentional hostile, derogatory or negative messages to target people who belong to a marginalized group.
Microaggressions are often rooted in stereotypical thoughts or depictions that are held by and perpetuated in society. A person assuming that someone else is more or less intelligent based on their race and expresses it directly or indirectly through conversation is an example of a microaggression.
Microaggressions aren’t often done intentionally, but it can have a negative impact on people who face them over time.
City employees were also encouraged to recall and share stories of when they’ve faced a microaggression and to think of and offer nonaggressive ways to handle them.
City employees learned that the best way for someone who experiences a microaggression to handle it is by asking the other person why they think that way. This gives the opportunity to open dialogue and cause the person to clarify what they said and think about why they believe or don’t believe in it.
Mayor Carlo DeMaria and the City of Everett would like to thank Pastor Cadet for speaking to City employees for June’s Lunch and Learn program.