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Letter from the Diversity Commission Chairman, Bishop Robert Brown

Submitted by Bishop Robert G. Brown

As Chair of the Commission for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Employment Opportunity, I am concerned about and affected by the reports, comments, and conversations relating to Councilor Anthony DiPierro’s posting of racial memes. In this present day and climate, when any articulation, be it through words, graphics, or deeds, that denigrates or mischaracterizes individuals is not only unacceptable and distasteful but stands in direct conflict with Everett’s desire to be a city that embraces all people of all ethno-socio-economic status.

The City of Everett is in a demographical transition, adjusting to its new emerging cultural, ethnic, and economic composition. In order to prosper and grow as a vibrant community and city, we must learn more from one another, focusing on and supporting the cultures and constituencies that will serve to help us forge a path toward unity, equity and resiliency as we develop into a city of opportunity for all.

The Commission for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Employment Opportunity understands the hurt, anger, disappointment, and distrust that has been provoked and expressed as a result of the conscious decision Councilor DiPierro made in sending out these memes. He has responded to the citizens of the Everett community in writing, but we must be assured that he will take the necessary further actions to acknowledge and make amends for his error, as well as educate himself on understanding and respecting the multi-ethnic, cultural, and diverse constituents he represents. It is our expectation that Councilor DiPierro will engage in the following types of activities to better educate himself about the people he represents; unconscious bias training; events sponsored by the City’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; immersion in cultural meetings, events, and information and celebration forums; and participation in all other programming that will assist him in respecting the dignity of others. We will work alongside the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the Mayor’s Office, the Human Resources Director, City Council, and all other parties who seek a resolution to this tragic, unfortunate situation that we find ourselves in today.

We recognize that many of us have experienced shame and guilt when our conscious and unconscious biases have surfaced in public and private domains. Some of us have taken the time and effort to educate ourselves to have worldviews that are more open, forgiving, and responsive to the global communities in which we live. This insensitive act lets not only Councilor DiPierro but all of us know that it’s time to reflect upon, relate to, and respect one another. Mistakes do happen, but not all of them are acceptable. The greater issue is…can Everett be open, forgiving and positively respond to this one?

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