EVERETT, Mass. — Demonstrations swept across Everett after the resignations of an embattled city councilor and the mayor’s spokeswoman.
City councilor Anthony DiPierro and city employee Deanna Deveney are both accused of making racially insensitive remarks.
The public outrage has been building for months since DiPierro first came under fire for sharing a racist meme in a private conversation.
DiPierro, who’s the 27-year-old son of the mayor’s cousin, addressed his resignation in a social media post.
“I take full responsibility for my actions, and encourage others who participated in this hurtful, insensitive banter, to also do the right thing and step down from their positions in city government,” said a portion of the statement.
Deveney nor her attorney have issued a public comment.
“The choice today to step down is an important step in the healing process,” said Massachusetts Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz. “I don’t think it undoes the damage.”
Demonstrators of all ages demanded an end to racism in a community whose diverse population is now minority-white.
Hundreds of students walked out of Everett High School on Monday afternoon to take a stand.
A protest was later held outside Everett City Hall ahead of Monday night’s city council meeting.
“It’s going to be a long journey, but I do think we’re starting to see some change with the councilor resigning today and the communications director resigning today,” said Everett educator Keith Spencer.
Some questioned why action wasn’t taken sooner.
“No one has spoken out and condemned the actions or words, and that’s what’s causing all the concern here,” said Fred Capone, a former Everett city councilor who previously ran for mayor.
Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria was not present at Monday night’s city council meeting to address the situation.
He posted a statement on Facebook earlier in the day acknowledging the community uproar.
“Recently, we have been faced with inexcusable conduct of elected officials and City employees that violates the public trust. These actions have caused deep pain in our community. I have spoken to and heard from residents and we all believe that significant, visible action must be taken in order for true healing to begin in Everett.”
Mayor DeMaria said his administration is committed to the important work of training, educating and informing “all municipal employees of the standards that they are expected to uphold”.
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