On Friday, February 26, the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus (MBLLC) recognized Malden resident, educator and community leader Erga Pierrette during the Black Excellence on the Hill event, which is held annually to commemorate Black leaders and trailblazers who are driving progress and positive change in cities and towns across Massachusetts. Each year MBLLC invites all state legislators to nominate one individual from their district to receive recognition at the Black Excellence on the Hill event. The recognition is intended to highlight the heritage and work of those belonging to the Black diaspora, and the MBLLC seeks to recognize a broad, diverse and inclusive cohort of Black leaders, trailblazers and changemakers from across Massachusetts.
“As leaders, educators and as a community we need to center humanity. We need to push for equity with fidelity, and also hold folks accountable. Protocols and procedures are needed so that people can report their experiences when their rights are violated. We need our policies to show that we value equity, justice and access for all. Our Black and Brown neighbors have been hurting and they are still hurting in our community; we need to act with urgency to change this narrative. There is a lot of work to be done and it will take all of us to do it, together,” said Pierrette. “It takes one person to make a difference and it takes a group of people to bring forth change.”
Pierrette is a social worker, community organizer and visionary leader who is dedicated to dismantling systemic racism in the community. She has been a constant advocate for ongoing antiracism training for the Malden community, including Malden educators and government employees. In addition, Pierrette advocates for creating antiracism policies and practices within the city, for decolonizing the Malden Public School curriculum and for the hiring and retention of Malden educators and government employees of color. Pierrette envisions a Malden where people’s identities do not predict their educational, health, economic and other outcomes – where the population of people is reflected in leadership roles throughout the city, and all students feel represented, seen, heard and supported.
Pierrette is an active volunteer who sits on multiple advisory boards and is a member and leader in many community groups. She has been a member of the City of Malden’s Advisory Group for Obama’s Pledge (AGOP) and is an executive board member of the Mystic Valley Branch of the NAACP, president of 1RACE, Inc. (Rooting Action to Cultivate Equality), a member of Malden Police Alternatives and Accountability, a co-chair of the Malden Cultural Council, a co-convener of Malden Community Organizing for Racial Equity (MaldenCORE) and a member of the steering committee of Malden Reads. She guided Malden Reads to make programmatic decisions that promote learning about racism and creating space for reflection.
Pierrette was instrumental in starting Malden’s Annual Juneteenth Freedom Celebration and Juneteenth Flag Raising Ceremony. She believed it would be important that the Juneteenth flags be raised at all the schools in the district. For the first time in Malden’s history, it happened!
“We join Senator Lewis and the Commonwealth in not only recognizing Malden resident Erga Pierrette but thanking her as well for her advocacy and commitment to dismantling systemic racism in our city,” said Mayor Gary Christenson. “Erga’s leadership has been and continues to be a driving force in our work to create antiracism policies and practices within our community, schools and in city government. I am certain that her tireless work and dedication to effecting change will make Malden a better place that is more inclusive and equitable for all.”
“Erga Pierrette is a key leader in the work to dismantle systemic racism in the City of Malden, and the impacts of her work resonate throughout our entire region,” said State Senator Jason Lewis, who nominated her for the recognition at this year’s Black Excellence on the Hill event. “I am proud to represent her in the State Senate and I look forward to supporting her important work and vision as we all work together to build a more just and equitable community.”
Erga is dedicated to unity and bringing people together. This is evident through her partnerships and community collaborations for different events. On July 10, in collaboration with the Malden Public Library, the Network for Social Justice and the Mystic Valley area Branch of the NAACP, the documentary “PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in School” will be screened via Zoom. Erga will moderate an important panel discussion on the film, also via Zoom.