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History is made: It's now Mayor Wu

Michelle Wu takes oath of office

With a bit of help from her family, City Councilor Michelle Wu officially become Mayor Wu shortly after 12:30 p.m., in a ceremony at the front of the city-council chambers in Boston City Hall.

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Good afternoon Wu Train family, we’re back together so soon! I’ve missed you over the last two weeks.

Thank you Mayor Janey for your beautiful remarks and your trailblazing leadership, and thank you Senator Warren, Senator Markey, Congresswoman Pressley, Governor Baker, and all our colleagues in state, county, and local government for sharing this moment.

Thank you especially to the Boston City Council for hosting us here. President Pro Tem O’Malley, sitting members, and incoming new Councilors-elect:

Ruthzee Louijeune, Erin Murphy, Brian Worrell, Kendra Hicks, and Tania Fernandes Anderson — Congratulations, and I can’t wait to celebrate your Inauguration in January!

Thank you, Boston.
I am honored to stand here, in this Chamber that has meant so much to me, as your next Mayor…

The first time I set foot in Boston City Hall, I felt invisible— swallowed up by the maze of echoing concrete hallways, intimidated by the checkpoints and looming counters, reminded that my immigrant family tried to stay away from spaces like these.

But our family’s struggles brought me to an internship with Mayor Menino and his Chief of Staff Mitch Weiss, and an unexpected full-circle journey over the last decade.

Today I know City Hall’s passageways and stairwells like my own home. And this space is most special.

I learned the ropes of city government and politics on this floor, held the gavel on this floor,
nursed babies on this floor, delivered paid parental leave on this floor, language access, food justice, housing protections, climate progress, and have reveled in the growing representation and power of our communities that our Boston City Council continues to embody.

But since we’re here today, I must share that the Council floor wasn’t always this way. When I joined the Council, this space wasn’t fully accessible to everyone. The floor that some are sitting on right now, was much lower, designed as a pit three steps down — a striking feature part of what many or I would call the beautiful architecture of City Hall.

Three steps prevented Bostonians in wheelchairs and with mobility challenges from coming down directly to testify on this floor and advocate for change. Those three steps were a barrier between our government and the people we are here to serve.

So we changed what this space could be, reshaped it to be accessible for everyone, and brought the floor level up three steps.

When we make City Hall more accessible, we are all raised up.

When we communicate in many languages, we all understand more.

Most of all, when we connect the power of city government to the force of our neighborhoods and communities, we see how much is possible for our city.

City government is special. We are the level closest to the people, so we must do the big and the small. Every streetlight, every pothole, every park and classroom, lays the foundation for greater change. Not only is it possible for Boston to deliver basic city services and generational change ​​— it is absolutely necessary in this moment.

We’ll tackle our biggest challenges by getting the small things right, and by getting City Hall out of City Hall and into our neighborhoods, block by block, street by street.

After all, Boston was founded on a revolutionary promise: that things don’t have to be as they always have been. That we can chart a new path for families now, and for generations to come, grounded in justice and opportunity.

And we can take steps to raise us all up to that promise, together.

Several weeks ago, at Roxbury Community College, I met a young leader and student in our community. Brandon lives in Mattapan and takes the 28 Bus to class. He found out one day from a local business on Blue Hill Ave that the Mayor of Boston had worked to make the 28 Bus free, and it changed his life. What used to be a frequent headache of asking mom for $2 to get to class, opened up into justice and opportunity.

For Brandon and for our communities:

Our charge is to see every person and listen.

To meet people where they are.

To give hope. And deliver on it.

To find joy, in the words of the amazing Kim Janey, and spread it. Let history note not just who she was in this office, but all she got done, and all she will continue to do for our city.

Our charge is to fight urgently for our future, for the young people at the Burke High School who are here with us today, for Blaise, Cass, Ellie and Addie, for all our kids, and their kids to come.

The first time I set foot in Boston City Hall, I felt invisible. Today I see what’s possible in this building, and I see all the public servants raising us up — frontline workers, first responders, teachers and bus drivers, building inspectors, city workers. I am deeply honored to work alongside you and I ask everyone to join me in expressing our gratitude for your service. And I ask everyone to join us in service of our communities.

Boston, our charge is clear. We need everyone to join us in the work of doing the big and the small, getting City Hall out of City Hall, and embracing the possibility of our city.

The reason to make a Boston for everyone is because we need everyone for Boston, right now.

We have so much work to do, and it will take all of us to get it done. So let’s get to work.

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What a beautiful and inspiring speech. :’)

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So.... who's the City Council President now?

And what happens to Wu's at-large seat.... does Wu have two jobs, or does the top vote getter get sworn in later today, or does it stay vacant until January?

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Not sure about city council president, but I think Alejandra St. Guillen is temporarily taking Wu's vacated city council seat.

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Assuming Wu resigns from the Council. Unless the charter requires Wu resign, she may as well ride out her council term for the next six weeks.

If Wu had to resign from the Council, she would have formally submitted that before swearing in as Mayor, but the city's City Council webpage still lists Wu with the Councilors, O'Malley as City Council President, and Janey as "Former Mayor".

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...but Wu submitted a resignation letter that took effect at noon today

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At least through Jan. 1, she returns to the council and, presumably, her job as council president. Matt O'Malley, also through Jan. 1, retires from his role as council president pro tem to his life as the councilor from District 6.

Come Jan. 1, both will be replaced, since neither ran for re-election.

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Seems like Janey plans to sit out most or all of the rest of her term.

Notification from city council president Kim Janey

Dear Madam Clerk,

Having concluded my tenure as [sic] Mayor of the of the great city of Boston, I am now taking some much-needed time to rest. I'm traveling over the next several weeks and therefore I am not able to attend today's City Council meeting. Vice President O'Malley will preside over the meeting and my staff will be in attendance to take notes. Kindly read this letter into the record, thank you.

Sincerely,
Kim janey
Council President, District 7

I'm sure if Janey won the preliminary and general election and actually became the Mayor, then she would also be taking several weeks off right now, letting her staff run the city and "take notes". It's not like District 7 needs a councilor to represent it. It practically runs itself.

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…. was inexcusable and looooong winded.

The Satanic Temple can’t win their lawsuit fast enough for me!

Holy Christmas!!

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I was waiting for the speaker to lapse into glossolalia. This is political theater without politics. Evidence for why opening with theological invocations to a magical sky daddy is dubious at best. Can not imagine Satanists being any less theatrical (or maybe they are, maybe Beelzababa would make a magical appearance).

And what about non-Christians in Boston? Are they no longer represented by the City Council? The reference to the blood of Jesus - at least where Christianity faces Judaism is close to the nearly 2,000 year monstrous accusation of blood libel. It is, at best, a silliness to anyone who does not believe Jesus of Nazareth was a god.

Raise the roof about Jesus and his blood, and his bloody sacred heart; do that in a church. But as Jesus is thought to have said, "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's." City Hall is government (Caesar). It is not an extension of church.

If religions - and I don't mean people of faith - I mean the "leaders" who are just politicians without being voted in, kept a respectiful distance from politics, ours woul;d be a vastly better nation.

Religion is not necessary to get people to do good; to care for each other; to want to make a better world. History shows that religion can fail in those roles and become a monsterous servant to real demons of power. Healthy religion can teach mental and spiritual health. But when religion directly mingles with politics the inevitable result is the birth of demons.

The fundamental wisdom that animated the founders showed itself in concretely separating politics from religion and government from religion. Religionists - especially those who accumulate power - will always seek ways to create discord, to set themselves up as somehow superior to everyone else. In an ironic twist that may be a safety valve to religions exploding. But when religious leaders directly mingle with governance then all hell breaks loose.

Also, what did the speaker mean when she said "even until or unto the end" for Mayor Wu? That language usually points to death. Offering an unwelcome prophesy about the new mayor? Creepy.

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A public servant's swearing in is no place for this.

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Watch the video and cringe. It’s embarrassing that the city is giving an official platform to a religious service.

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Identity politics on full display.
Its great, but not great enough I suppose.

https://www.npr.org/2021/11/16/1055972179/boston-first-black-mayor

While many are hailing it as a major turning point, others see it as more of a disappointment that the three Black candidates in the race couldn't even come close.

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?

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On her inauguration day they thought it would be a good time to let us know her victory is a "disappointment" to some, not because of her political positions but because she not the right race. That is what's wrong with it.
I'm sure to some identity politics is fine, but not to me.

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…and 2021 is the year when “identity politics” all of a sudden becomes a concern for certain voters.

Besides that point, all politics is identity politics.

74 million Americans voted for a flagrantly white supremacist President and those same people are flooding school boards because they are being told by the propagandists that their white identity is under attack by a made-up CRT boogie man. These people were formerly called “values voters” because they drew upon their Christian identity to define themselves. They were also the ones who ate up the BS that Obama was going install Sharia Law and that lie also threatened their fragile Christian identities.

“But I don’t identify as Conservative, I’m a [pick one: libertarian/Independant/free-thinking unicorn]!”, someone might say. If you don’t believe that “independent voters” or libertarians don’t value and take pride in their identity, then you’re you’re kidding yourself. And the association with that identity absolutely influences the way that they vote.

The “anti-identity politics” talking point is so outdated and a relic of AM talk radio. Anyone engaging in the political process is engaging in some form of identity politics.

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If it's bad for whites to invoke identity in politics (and it is), then it's tenuous to try to maintain a double standard where it's ok for others to do so.

Your refrain, I think, is that there's an implicit identity play ongoing that favors whites. Maybe so. But this is a tenuous line to maintain and it invites blowback from the more reactionary and odious corners of the right.

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We’ve seen for decades that the reactionary and odious corners of the right fabricate racial and religious boogie men out of thin air when there are none. JFC, Barack Obama was successfully branded as “racially divisive” because he had beer with Skip Gates and that cop.

All I am saying is that it’s “tenuous” to argue that any of us who participate in the political process are above identity politics.

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Due to the Gates incident wasn't because of the "Beer Summit." It was because of Obama's statement immediately after the incident which even he stated he later regretted.

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And the right-wing noise machine had 30-40% of the country believing that what he said was the equivalent of “kill whitey” and that Sharia law was imminent.

No one can make a good-faith argument that Obama was remotely racially divisive. And rhe GOP is going to use white discomfort with race no matter how passively or actively race is discussed in public.

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But this is a tenuous line to maintain

Tenuous how? The historical record supports it.

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The problem is that it requires high-minded (white) people of goodwill to foreswear identity considerations in political engagement while simultaneously indulging and encouraging those considerations among other demographic constituencies in the interest of re-balancing things.

I don't dispute that whites are over-represented. I just don't think that this approach (which, again, relies on whites to exercise high-minded goodwill and sit on their hands in any discussion about identity and interests) is tenable for a large swath of the country.

Will there come a time when it's no longer palatable for anyone to explicitly invoke identity as a motivation in their political calculus? When will that be? How will we know that we've reached it?

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...let's say there's a race, and you got a head start, and you've been running for half an hour, and others are just now being allowed out of the starting gate, and their wellbeing depends on their being able to catch up with you, and you don't want to have to stop and wait half an hour, because that's not fair to you (?), and you don't want them to be brought up to your current position, because that's not fair to you (?).

I accept that this is far from a complete analogy, but you've discarded "this approach" as a remedy without proposing one of your own, which leaves the white people in a privileged position, a position of power, and without any incentive to change things.

Will there come a time when it's no longer palatable for anyone to explicitly invoke identity as a motivation in their political calculus? When will that be?

Never, as long as the only acceptable approach is "don't upset the white people".

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As long as there is white supremacy in politics—and to be clear, 74 million Americans/46% of voters chose to vote for a President who was explicitly white supremacist, so we are a looonnggg way off—identity will be an important fact of voting.

First, white people voting for white people because a canndidate is white and they feel threatened by they idea of a nonwhite person or a woman (or a Jew or a Muslim) only serves to perpetuate and promote white supremacy. IN NO WAY IS THIS EQUIVALENT TO Black people, women, or members of any other marginalized group giving preference at the polls to someone who represents them demographically because they have been systematically excluded from office for centuries and finally want a seat at the table.

Second, people of color and people of other marginalized groups should not be the first groups required to give up “identity politics”. When white people as a whole finally give up voting for openly racist candidates and against candidates because they are nonwhite, then maybe we can pivot to considering the ramifications of other groups who are motivated to vote based on identity.

Will there come a time when it's no longer palatable for anyone to explicitly invoke identity as a motivation in their political calculus? When will that be? How will we know that we've reached it?

When will that be? When white supremacy is dismantled.

Until such time, scolding marginalized groups for playing “identity politics” only serves white supremacy. There is no “both sides”. A Roxbury voter perfering Campbell to Wu because Campbell is Black or a Taiwanese business owner preferring Wu to Walsh because of a shared background is IN NO WAY THE SAME as white people who continually vote for white candidates because of race, let alone when they vote for openly racist candidates.

Sure, the kum-by-yah idea that we all are colorblind and vote solely on qualifications is neat and all, but in no way is that remotely based in present reality.

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That for a very recent 20+ of those 100 years, the "Irish Catholic" mayor was Italian, and before World War 2, the Brahmins did win the office on a regular basis.

Or do they all look the same to you?

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I mentioned this before, but the last 100 years saw 1 Italian Catholic and 1 Sweedenborgian. And if you go further beyond Curlley, you get Honey Fitz, Patrick Collins, and Hugh O’Brien.

If you think that the Irish Catholic white men dominating the Boston mayors office for well over 100 years has nothing to do at all with “identity politics”, then you are delusional. It seems that “identity politics” is only a threat when people start voting for candidates outside the dominant identity.

Furthermore, consider that Black Bostonians have been here since *at least* 1636 and it took until the 1960s for Black people to gain representation on the city council and 1979 to gain representation on the school board. White identity politics is one very obvious reason why Black people were shut out of those positions and continue to be shut out of the Mayor’s office.

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But in any event, I’ve lived in Boston for 50 years, and for 21 of those years, the mayor has had 0% Irish ancestry.

But let’s not let facts interfere with your narrative.

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The guy that "canceled" the centuries-old name of Davis Hill in the Arboretum to name it after himself? Sure, what about him?

Anyway, the facts are on my side. Since Hugh O'Brien took office in 1885, 69% of the years of the Boston mayorality have been served by Irish Catholic white men.

And to your 21/50 argument? 21 years of a "non-Irish" mayrolity can also be couched as 58% of the years as having an Irish mayor.

So you're arguing that having an Irish mayor for 58% of your life undermines my point? I don't get it?

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why are you framing representation in a way that puts it at odds with political positioning? i would argue that representation is itself a political position.

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It's a Federal holiday. Federal employees are paid while not working that day. Yet it is a day based on identity politics. Italian identity. All the hand wringing about identity politics is vaporous and empty when used as an attempt to prove one party or another is somehow deficient or wrong.

The United States began with a specific national identity: English. It's politics, a king notwithstanding, remained based on the identity of English.

Identity politics as a put down is just another abuse of language. Another ad hominem. Another case of language used to create strife and division.

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But NPR chose the day of her Inauguration to write an article about why some people are upset because she isn't black.,

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"Columbus Day" is now "Indigenous Peoples' Day". That's "identity politics" in action.

Few people care about keeping Columbus Day as a government holiday. Would make more sense to just remove it as an observed holiday than to rename it out of spite.

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"Columbus Day" is now "Indigenous Peoples' Day".

On the federal government holiday calendar?

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And yet the President says differently.

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you don't understand how federal holidays work.

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NPR

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"I got home, and I cried," says Danny Rivera, an artist and civil rights activist in Boston. "I cried my eyes out because I don't know the next time we'll see a Black mayor in our city."

And I don't know where my next job on the city payroll will be:

https://d8-dev2.boston.gov/departments/resilience-and-racial-equity/dann...

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