At just 27 years old, Jean Bradley Derenoncourt made history Tuesday, when he was elected Brockton’s first Haitian-American city councilor.
Derenoncourt is the first Haitian-American elected to public office in Brockton, taking one of the four at-large seats on the 11-person Brockton City Council during last Tuesday’s citywide election.
Derenoncourt was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and spent his childhood on the Haitian island of Gonave. After the devastating earthquake in 2010, he immigrated to the United States and settled in Brockton. He became a U.S. citizen last February.
He learned to speak English, before enrolling at Massasoit Community College, where he was a Commonwealth Honors Scholar and earned his Associates Degree and a Certificate in Criminal Justice. In 2015, he received the Green Key Award, the school’s highest honor, for his civic engagement and unselfish service both to Massasoit and to the greater community.
While he was in school, Derenoncourt got his first taste of public service, serving as an intern for former Brockton Mayor Linda Balzott and former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.
He served as a staff member for State Senator Michael D. Brady of Brockton and was instrumental in the campaign for earned sick time for workers in the Commonwealth in his position as Regional Field Director for Raise Up Massachusetts. He also served as an organizer for the Coalition for Social Justice.
Derenoncourt launched his campaign for Brockton City Council on Feb. 11 this year, on the one-year anniversary of his obtaining U.S. citizenship. During his first campaign for public office, Derenoncourt won by picking up 5,250 votes, finishing fourth in a field of eight candidates.
Derenoncourt attributes his success, both personal and professional, to the people of Brockton, who he says welcomed him with open arms. Now, he adds, he’s giving back to the community that embraced him.