With sadness, we share the news that Ms. Everette passed away on March 9, 2018. Below is an interview that Ms. Everette shared with us in March 2017, discussing her activism in our community. We were fortunate enough to experience her light and that we have a wealth of wonderful interactions and experiences by which to remember her. Thank you, Ms. Everette for all of your many valuable contributions to our programs, the neighborhood and beyond.
Our Women’s History Month feature this week is Ms. Anne Everette. A long time community member and social worker, Ms. Everette offers a boundless source of inspiration. Retired is just one of Ms. Everett’s many affiliations. She is the Chair of the Willoughby Walk Cooperative Apartments Inc. Finance Committee and serves on the Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project Senior Advisory Council. She is an active member of the NAACP and the 88th Precinct Community and Youth Council. Her community meeting itinerary makes it look like she’s running for city council, but she’s not. Ms. Everette just likes to be informed and to be able to pass that information on to those who are either too busy or too fragile to make it. In other words. Ms. Everette goes to workshops, seminars, and conventions all over the city, sometimes to other states, collecting and spreading information. She is fit, in good spirits and sharp as a tack.
We sat down with Ms. Everette on a warm weekday morning at Connecticut Muffin. During our conversation, she reminisced about a time when Myrtle Avenue was filled with independent groceries, a delicatessen, and a tailor who didn’t appreciate people trying to tell him how to do his job. She noted that when Myrtle Avenue sees a new restaurant, it’s important to remember that there is no trade off without a sacrifice. Our conversation was another reminder of the mixed bag of impacts when it comes to our city’s constant evolution.
You can’t raise a family in a studio
Ms. Everett noted that Willoughby Walk (at the corner of Willoughby Ave and Hall Street) was originally built as a middle income housing project in 1958, and she was part of the community group that fought to convert the development into the cooperative model it is today. She described generations of Pratt students who made pretty good neighbors. They were mostly quiet and stayed in the same unit for four years or more. “But housing in America has always been a problem,” she said, remembering the professor at Rutgers who warned that the main social issues in America were housing and homelessness. And that it was only going to get worse. We can certainly say housing is still the crisis of our time. Ms. Everett describes what a lot of us sense when we browse through the For Rent sections of any daily paper. That a $2,000 studio is not affordable by most standards. “You can’t raise a family in a studio,” she says. “And we need housing for all people.”
We’re thankful to have neighbors like Ms. Everett in our community. As the old saying goes, you can’t grow if you rip out your roots. It’s seniors like Ms. Everett who give our community its roots.