If you had Boston’s new mayor being both a woman and a person of color, please bring your Bingo card to the front so that I can call you a liar to your face.
On Monday, Kim Janey took the mayoral reins from Marty Walsh, who resigned to serve as President Joe Biden’s labor secretary—and just like that, Boston has made history for not being the Boston that it used to be. Janey was serving as the Boston City Council president when she stepped into the role of acting mayor and is expected to have a ceremonial swearing-in Wednesday, Boston 25 News reports.
In order to understand how insanely historic this is, just know that since the better part of 100 years, Boston has had an Irish-American mayor—well, there was one Italian-American—but there sure haven’t been any Black folks and not one woman.
“History will be made tonight,” Walsh said earlier in the evening. “We’re an extremely diverse city from different backgrounds and different nationalities and different skin colors. I think it’s a good thing for our city. I think it’s a great thing for our city.”
Janey took to Twitter to wish Walsh well.
“Congratulations on your confirmation, Secretary Walsh. You are a proud son of Dorchester who will bring our city with you,” she tweeted. “The working people of America will benefit greatly from your passion,” Boston 25 News reports.
“Now, we look ahead to a new day—a new chapter—in Boston’s history,” Janey, a fellow Democrat, added.
Janey, 55, has had a meteoric rise in a short amount of time. Just three years ago, she was sworn in as a city councilor and “has a long history of activism in Boston, with deep roots in Roxbury, the heart of the city’s Black community.”
From Boston 25 News:
Her grandfather, Daniel Benjamin Janey, was a member of Twelfth Baptist Church where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. worshipped while attending Boston University. Her father was one of only eight Black students to graduate from the city’s prestigious Boston Latin School in 1964.
While spending time in her great grandmother’s home in the city’s South End neighborhood, Janey was also exposed to the city’s political culture as she watched a neighbor — Black community activist and former state Rep. Mel King — launch a bid for mayor in 1983, losing to Ray Flynn, an Irish-American city councilor.
During the second phase of Boston’s tumultuous school desegregation era, Janey would recall the rocks and racial slurs she said were hurled at her as an 11-year-old girl riding the bus to the largely white neighborhood of Charlestown. She would later take part in a program that allowed her to attend school outside the city.
Janey’s political career began with Massachusetts Advocates for Children, where she pushed for policy changes to ensure equity and excellence for public school students in Boston.
Although Janey hasn’t said if she will run for mayor in the fall, Boston 25 News notes that it wouldn’t be shocking considering interim mayors use the position to try and win the seat.
We will be keeping an eye on this as Janey being elected mayor would be huge for Boston, as so far, the diversity of mayors has been, well, lacking.