Speaking Monday on Boston Public Radio, Everett City Councilor-at-Large Gerly Adrien said she's "not afraid” of attacks and belittlement from Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria and her colleagues on city council, and said that she remains undeterred by unfair “aggressive Black woman” tropes thrust upon her.
"I’m not afraid of his administration," she said. "I’m not afraid of the council president or my colleagues. I wanted to come into this [job to] change people’s perspective, to get involved and to not be afraid.”
Earlier this month, Adrien published an opinion piece in The Boston Globe about the ridicule that she said she has faced as Everett’s first Black, Haitian-American councilmember. In the article, Adrien described being “constantly” criticized for things like her appearance and how she speaks. Back in October, several of her fellow council members pressured her to resign over her insistance on attending meetings virtually during the pandemic.
DeMaria is scheduled to join Boston Public Radio on Feb. 17, where he is expected to respond to Adrien.
"I just don’t know how my colleagues want me to act,” she said. "It’s either I’m too aggressive, I’m too bold or I’m smiling or laughing too much, and they don’t like that.”
Despite the interpersonal issues, however, the councilor and owner of Tipping Cow Ice Cream said she remains focused on advocating for working-class families.
"I am who I am going to be," she said. "I’m going to continue to learn. I’m going to continue to fight for good ideas and bold ideas, because I think we need that right now. People are losing their homes. They are hungry. We need people to step up."
She also shared a memory from her childhood, reading the news and watching her mother struggle to pay the bills.
"I would read the local newspapers, and it was always a bunch of these older white males who were making decisions for families like my mom,” she recalled. "I remember we were struggling with paying the heating bill, and I said, ‘Mom, how can I help somebody like you, and other families?’ And she was like, ‘You’ve got to be one of these guys.'"