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|Member of the Maryland House of Delegates|
from the 39th district
|Assumed office |
January 9, 2019
|Born||October 23, 1990|
San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago
|Education||A.A., International Relations, Montgomery College|
B. A., Political Science & Public Policy, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Gabriel Acevero (born October 23, 1990) is a Trinidadian American union organizer, political activist and politician representing Maryland's 39th House district. On November 6, 2018 Acevero finished in first place with 31% of the vote and became the first openly gay Afro-Latino, and one of the youngest people, elected to the Maryland House of Delegates. A self-described Democratic Socialist, his candidacy was endorsed by labor unions, immigrant rights advocacy groups and Senator Bernie Sanders' Our Revolution. Acevero is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
Early life, education and career
Acevero was born on October 23, 1990, in San Fernando, Trinidad; the youngest of six children to Ingrid (née Renne), a government employee and labor activist and Michael Acevero, an insurance agent. His paternal family are Afro-Venezuelan and his mother is Afro-Trinidadian. Acevero was raised in the town of Couva and attended Richmond Street Boys Anglican School in the capital, Port-of-Spain. He graduated from Couva Government Secondary School in 2007, where he excelled on the school's debate team and his family immigrated to the United States later that year, settling in Maryland. Acevero started college at 16, earning his associate degree in international relations from Montgomery College and a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) in 2011 at the age of 20. He was a student activist in college, volunteered for political campaigns and was active in the state Democratic Party.
Acevero worked as an issue organizer after college, first on the successful Question 4 (Maryland Dream Act) and Question 6 (Marriage Equality) campaigns in 2012—Maryland became the first state to approve both measures at the ballot box—and then in 2014 on transgender equality. He was recognized by the National Black Justice Coalition as one of its "100 Black LGBTQ Emerging Leaders to Watch" for his advocacy and efforts to reform Maryland's justice system.
A Black Lives Matter activist, Acevero helped organize and was involved in protests during the 2015 Freddie Gray unrest in Baltimore City. He was arrested while protesting and later released without being charged. Acevero joined the coalition of activists and organizations that advocated for the reform of Maryland's Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights (LEOBR) following Freddie Gray's death. Prior to running for office, he was involved in decarceration efforts in Maryland.
Acevero joined the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union Local 1994 in 2016 as a union representative and organizer where he represented workers on workplace and contractual issues. He joined the Maryland Fight for $15 campaign and organized low wage workers and community groups to support raising the minimum wage in Montgomery County. The County Council overwhelmingly approved the bill and it was signed into law in 2017.
In December 2017, Acevero was among a group of activists, labor leaders, clergy and lawmakers who were arrested on the steps of Capitol Hill for engaging in unlawful demonstration. The group was hoping to pressure Congress to include legislation for undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children. He was also behind the push that led to the renaming of an Elementary School in honor of gay Civil Rights leader, Bayard Rustin. In his testimony before the Montgomery County Board of Education, Acevero criticized the Trump Administration's decision to remove LGBTQ people off the US Census and the transgender military ban: "We have a hostile administration that is intent on erasing LGBTQ folks, recently taking us off the Census and banning transgender Americans from serving their country. Now more than ever we need to affirm LGBTQ youth, and that's why Bayard Rustin is such a powerful name for this school." The Montgomery County Board of Education voted to approve the renaming of the school.
Acevero ran in the three-member 39th district which includes parts of Gaithersburg, Germantown, Clarksburg, Montgomery Village and the Town of Washington Grove. He won the Democratic primary on June 26, 2018, besting three-term incumbent Delegate Kirill Reznik and two-term incumbent, Delegate Shane Robinson in the hotly contested primary. He faced nominal Republican opposition in the general and was elected on November 6, 2018 at age 28. Acevero was sworn in on a copy of James Baldwin's 1963 book, The Fire Next Time and assumed office on January 9, 2019.
In March 2019, Acevero introduced "Anton's Law," a bill requiring transparency in investigations of complaints against police officers. The bill was named for Anton Black, a 19-year-old African-American man who was killed by police in Greensboro, Maryland.
Awards and honors
The G-Listed named Acevero one of its "Black LGBTQ Power 100 in 2018," and LGBTQ Nation named him one of its 10 favorite LGBTQ candidates of 2018.
Acevero is one of six openly LGBTQ members of the Maryland General Assembly. He's a pescatarian and doesn't drink alcohol.
- "Gabriel Acevero makes history in Md. General Assembly". Washington Blade. February 25, 2019.
- "Gabriel Acevero". Maryland State Archives.
- "100 Black LGBTQ/SGL Emerging Leaders to Watch". National Black Justice Coalition.
- "We are Maryland county executives. We support the $15 minimum wage — as a floor". The Washington Post. March 5, 2019.
- "MCPS Will Get First School Named in Honor of an Openly Gay Person: Bayard Rustin Elementary will open in Rockville in September". Bethesda Magazine. April 2, 2018.
- "Black Democratic Socialist Sworn in to the Maryland General Assembly". Hype.News. January 14, 2019.
- "Delegate Gabriel Acevero". General Assembly of Maryland.
- Milloy, Courtland (March 12, 2019). "The cost of making this bill on police reform law: Sacrifice". The Washington Post.
- "Champions of Pride". The Advocate. May 22, 2018.
- "Here are 10 of our favorite LGBTQ candidates this year". LGBTQ Nation. June 24, 2018.