Brandon Brito delivered a powerful message from a local group, the Revere Coalition for Peace, that has pledged to “make a positive and peaceful change” following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Brito appeared at the meeting broadcast on Zoom with fellow members of the group, Matthew Brito, Elijah Nater, and Taylor Giuffre-Catalano.
Brito’s remarks followed a motion by City Council President Patrick Keefe that “The Council go on record condemning the murder of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis Police Officers.”
“In troubling times like these when our country is divided, the people in our community rely on our leaders to uplift our spirits and bring us together, so in times of these it doesn’t matter what your political beliefs are,” said Brito.
“What matters is that we come together to embrace and be proud of what makes them different to prove to those that hold prejudices and practice racist ideologies – that when we come together and love and care for one another, racism, hate, and bigotry are no match for the people of Revere.”
Brito described his group as “young lifelong members of this city that want to see the leaders of Revere acknowledge hate and bigotry, bring our community together, and amplify the voices of the minority groups that reside here.”
The group had planned a Revere Against Racism Peace March for last Friday, but canceled the event. Brito said the group would like to hold events in the future once city officials say it is safe to gather in public in large groups.
Keefe said he appreciated the Coalition reaching out to the Council and “opening our ears and eyes up just a little bit more than we initially had thought they were.”
Councillor-at-Large George Rotondo commending Brito and the group for “coming forward and more importantly standing tall.”
“I can tell you that everybody on this Council stands with you and stands against racism in our community as well as hate,” said Rotondo. “What happened to George Floyd was an abomination and it never should have happened. But is also led light to what’s going on in America and it now gives us an ability to move forward and talk about what’s going on in our communities, our country and I want to thank you for bringing that forward.”
Continuing the discussion, Councillor-at-Large Steven Morabito said, “Racism is one of the greatest evils in our world, therefore those conversations about race, racism, and racial justice is the greater good of that evil. A joint statement from this honorable body to condemn police brutality and to condemn racism is imperative, especially now in this historic time when people all over the world are saying, ‘enough is enough.’’’
Councillor-at-Large Jessica Giannino thanked the Coalition “for standing up for what you believe in and working so hard to represent our city so well.”
Giannino added that she graduated from Revere High School 10 years ago “and I think you’re continuing a legacy of really strong Revere students and people that want to make a difference.”
She applauded the students for advancing an important issue in a respectful way while working with the community to make sure that everyone is safe and being heard. “We’re here to support you,” concluded Giannino.
Ward 5 Councillor John Powers said “there is good and bad that comes from every incident that happens.”
“The bad was that George Floyd was taken from his family at a relatively young age, was murdered on the streets by a person that you would hope be standing right there to protect you,” said Powers. “The good is that the incident brought out the good in most everybody in this country and throughout the world. It finally set the United States of America on a path to eliminate hate and prejudice through this country.”
Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso said that Brandon Brito and his friends “have done a remarkable job presenting themselves. Your delivery before the Revere City Council was very encouraging. Every word you said had meaningful thought. I’m proud to stand beside you in what you’ve had to say.”
Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky said he attended the group’s first Zoom meeting “and it was just a great feeling knowing that these kids are following our footsteps and want to correct a lot of the things that we didn’t do in the past.”
Councillor-at-Large Anthony Zambuto also took part in the group’s Zoom meeting, stating, “They say out of adversity, sometimes some great things happen. These great young people truly gave me hope that the future is bright in Revere.”
Ward 6 Councillor Richard Serino said, “The Council is very proud of you. You have done amazing work in such a short time, bringing the city together and bringing light to this issue.”
Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna, speaking as a former Revere teacher, said, “I’m very proud of all of you. Being respectful last week and knowing that we’re in a pandemic and keeping people safe and holding this march off was unbelievable. I know the Council and I will work with you and support whatever you want to go forward with in the future.”
Councillor-at-Large Gerry Visconti, who also attended the Zoom meeting, said the students “acted professional like young adults that make Revere proud.”
Community leader Dimple Rana thanked the four students for their efforts. “I have reached to all of you and I want to make sure that your voices continue to be uplifted and heard and also your actions and the love that you have for the city.”
Rana also expressed her personal experiences in witnessing incidents of racism.
“I want us as a city to go further with what’s been presented and condemn the death of George Floyd, but also move as a city to declare racism as a public health emergency,” said Rana.