If elected, Derenoncourt would be the first mayor of color in the history of Brockton.

Today, Brockton, MA residents will head to the polls for a preliminary election to decide their next mayor.  The seat opened following the death of former Mayor Bill Carpenter in July. Haitian American Jean Bradley Derenoncourt  is one seven candidates vying for the position. 

The 2010 earthquake brought with it its fair share of disaster, despair and pain. However, for Derenoncourt the tragedy turned into an opportunity, allowing him to build a new life for himself in the United States, dedicated to public service. 

The 29 year old, who became the first Haitian American elected to Brockton City Council in 2017, migrated to the United States seven months after the earthquake. He found himself in a new country, where he didn’t know the language or the people. But instead of allowing his unfamiliar surroundings and experience to intimidate him, he used his circumstances as motivation and propelled his life forward.

“When I came to the country, I couldn’t speak English, nor could I attend high school because I was going on 20 years old,” Derenoncourt said in an interview with the Haitian Times.  Instead Derenoncourt spent his days at the local Brockton Public Library learning English and studying for the GED. He eventually enrolled in community college and began his journey to hopeful mayor of Brockton, MA. 

If elected, Derenoncourt would be the first mayor of color in the history of Brockton. 

“At a very early age I knew I wanted to serve people and be in a position where I can make a difference,” he said. “It’s always important for someone to assume responsibility.”

Among his priorities are education, public safety and improving Brockton’s economy and infrastructure. He wants to improve the city’s reputation, which is seen by many as unsafe community riddled by crime, and invest in education and youth engagement programs. 

“I’m not just a Haitian candidate. I’m not just a Black candidate. I’m a candidate that wants to represent everyone,” Derenoncourt said. “I don’t forget where I come from. Yes, I am Haitian, I will always remember where I come from but at the same time, I see this race as a race that will allow me to bring people together, as opposed to pulling them apart.”

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