Worcester City Councilor District 4 Sarai Rivera’s time has come …

By Rosalie Tirella

… to be mayor of Worcester, to lead our city, to reflect our city to the world, to advocate for its people – many struggling under the sledge hammer of racism and poverty. The languages, the music, the goals of our people – a new Worcester blooming every day – Rivera can understand them in ways that our Irish pols – the guys (and gals) who’ve lead our city for decades – can’t – no matter how empathetic and smart they are.

District 4 Worcester City Councilor Sarai Rivera should be Worcester’s next mayor.

It only makes sense.

It’s her time – it’s ours.

Providence, Lowell, San Francisco, Los Angeles – all these 21st century cities have mayors who reflect their hubs’ panache … souls. They fit each other…like a glove. The people look to their mayors for leadership because they are TRUE REPRESENTATIVES of their metropolises!

Rivera is where the city of Worcester is going. Is at! All the multi-colored, multi-ethnic, multi-tongued folks, many immigrants new to rough and tumble America, lots poor, lots at the mercy of drugs and guns and our mean streets, lots entrepreneurs looking to make it happen for them and their families in America. Filled with hope!

Our people, their complex dreams, our complex neighborhoods evolving in ways that Worcester City Councilor Michael Gaffney denigrates, exploits … for fear and racist votes. Ultimately, Gaffney doesn’t understand the city. He’s from Webster – don’t be too hard on the arrogant rube. Mike Gaffney is a nowhere pol. He is a throw back for all those voters in Worcester who want white, Catholic, Irish – a rap on the head with a wooden ruler for the kids in our public schools who disobey their teachers. A 1950 world where a Mareen Binenda, 65 and Irish, would make the perfect Worcester school superintendent. But old prejudices die hard!  Our Worcester School Committee members – terrified of district representation, terrified of losing their votes and POWER – have given almost ready for retirement Maureen the job! How incredulous!  How old Worcester!

The powerful will fight to hold onto their entrenched power until their intestines leak out.

Power: read: influence, great jobs, money, nice neighborhoods … THE WORKS. And the quiet forgotten Worcester middle class who pay the city’s bills will vote a Gaffney out of their prejudiced resentment at a city they can no longer understand and accept. …But they too cannot escape the real Worcester. Their xenophobic eyes can only be closed for so long! They can only rant and rave on Aidan Kearney’s racist blog for so long!  Former Woo School Committee woman Mary Mullaney’s son Aidan can carry on her prejudiced past for only so long!!

The numbers are against Kearney and Gaffney.

The numbers are for Rivera.

Our public schools are already majority minority.

Walk down our streets – mostly you’ll see people of color making their way down them.

When you cross Park Ave, our city neighborhoods – from Green Island to Piedmont to Vernon Hill to South Worcester to Webster Square to Downtown to Main South – are majority minority. Our old Catholic churches are dying, crumbling down …

It’s a new Woo – and I don’t mean the artisan bread eating boutique shopping white kids who,  if they left Worcester, would be replaced by white kids that GET THE REALITY OF OUR CITY. And would work to include people of color and the poor in their farmers markets, etc. And they would buy houses here. And their white little kids would go to school with Black and brown  little kids – and it would be a good fit. We don’t need to beg and crawl to the phonies. The right cool progressive Millenials will find us. The wrong ones will buy real estate in  the suburbs and move away and send their kids to the suburban schools! It’s always been this way in Gateway Cities. It’s self-correcting city living. The beat goes on!

I’ve watched the beautiful Worcester District 4 City Councilor Sarai Rivera for several years now. Our relationship has not always been placid and warm. But over the past few years when our paths have crossed – at city meetings, at festivals – she’s been smart, sweet, tough, funny, warm, determined … and open. She has, through her several years on our Worcester city council, STOOD FOR RIGHT. A HUMANE WAY of solving Worcester’s new city problems. People first. Integrity first. Compassion first. Whether it be the  long suffering elephants and lions in the circuses who come to town, the small biz guy or gal, the inner city resident dealing with drug dealers, the drug addict overdosing, the young kids of color looking for a voice in city government Rivera has lead with grace, intelligence and not a little style (she wears the coolest, sexiest, prettiest, most colorful clothes!)! She is a great listener and makes her decisions, casts her votes intelligently. I’ve always been proud of her votes for people … and animals! I am proud to call her my district city councilor!

Rivera, in her early 40s, is happily married with a gaggle of boys. She has a few college degrees under her belt. Runs her own church, sings her own song! Loud and strong and proud!