Openly Gay Black Man to Serve on Springfield City Council

Amaad I. Rivera is both excited and surprised to suddenly be on the cusp of becoming the newest member of the Springfield, Massachusetts City Council.

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Rivera is set to become the new city councilor in Ward 6, due to the resignation this week of Ward 6 Councilor Keith W. Wright. Rivera would complete the final year of Wright's two-year term.

Wright announced his resignation Thursday, citing family reasons. By law, the position is offered to the second-place finisher in the 2009 election in the Ward 6 race, if deemed eligible and if interested.

Rivera, 28, who is full-time doctoral student at Brandeis University, lost that election to Wright by 152 votes.

"I'm excited and overwhelmed," Rivera said. "It happened so quickly. I'm eligible and I'm willing."

Rivera adds further diversity on the City Council, being part black and part Hispanic...and gay.
Rivera said he also adds youth to the council and believes he will become the first openly gay member of the council.

Prior to the 2009 election, the council never had more than one Hispanic member. Rivera will become the fourth member on the current council with some Hispanic heritage.

"This is something I've wanted for me, my family and my community to really have representation on the City Council that spoke for all people and not some people," Rivera said. "This is just a wonderful and exciting opportunity to serve the entire community of Springfield."

Way to go, Amaad! You're definitely paving the way!

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