Updated May 23 at 4:27 p.m.
An Everett city councilor and the mayor's communications director have resigned after racist statements were made public just over one week ago.
Councilor Anthony DiPierro and the mayor's communications director Deanna Deveney are both stepping down, Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria announced in a statement Monday. Public outrage began mounting in March, when DiPierro first came under fire for sharing a racist meme. A leaked video reviewed by GBH News, first reported by The Boston Globe just over a week ago, shows city officials including DiPierro and Deveney making racist comments when discussing how Everett officials might improve their image after allegations of racism. A former city councilor suggests Deveney could hire a “Haitian boyfriend.” Deveney then suggests that DiPierro could bring “one of your dark friends” to an event. DiPierro replies, “I don’t have a lot of those friends.”
DeMaria wrote that he believed their resignations were "essential" for the city to move forward.
"Recently, we have been faced with inexcusable conduct of elected officials and City employees that violates the public trust," DeMaria wrote Monday. "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."
Midday Monday, several hundred Everett High School students walked out and wended their way through city streets to protest in front of City Hall. In the wake of the resignations, they shifted their calls to demand an end to racism in their city and more diversity in a mostly white city government.
The Everett Teachers Association issued a statement Sunday, ahead of the resignations, that racist actions and comments from city officials made them “unqualified to represent this city.” The union noted that more than 80% of public school students in Everett are students of color.
“We work diligently to earn and maintain the trust of our students and families, which includes confronting racism,” the union wrote. “The ‘wink and nod’ remarks as seen in the video are all too commonplace.”
DiPierro apologized for his actions in a Facebook post Monday announcing his resignation.
"My actions have clearly hurt a city that I love," DiPierro wrote. "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."
Deveney told GBH News she deferred questions about her resignation back to City Hall.
DeMaria previously defended DiPierro, telling the Globe that he believes in second chances. The Globe also reported that the mayor had seen the video showing DiPierro and Deveney's comments weeks before it was publicly reported.
Maura Healey, Massachusetts' attorney general who's the frontrunner in the governor's race, called on DiPierro to resign Friday, saying "there's no place for racist commentary or actions" among public officials and that it erodes the public's faith in government.
This story was updated to clarify details of the comments made by Everett officials in the video.