“We are ready to meet this moment. We are ready to become a Boston for everyone. We’re ready to be a Boston that doesn’t push people out, but welcomes all who call our city home,” Wu said during an election night speech to supporters.
While celebrating this victory for women of color, we must not forget Boston acting Mayor Kim Janey’s service and dedication to community or that she made history this year, becoming both the first woman and the first person of color to lead the city. Kim Janey, became Boston’s first black female mayor in March after Marty Walsh resigned to serve as President Joe Biden’s labor secretary. Janey did join the race for Mayor, however during the campaign she struggled to stand out in a field that included three fellow city councilors and a former city economic development official. Three of the five leading candidates, including Janey, were Black. Four of the five candidates were women. It’s a new dawn, a new day and women of color are standing up and standing out for community, equality, accessibility and positive change.
Michelle Wu is the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants. Although Wu never intended to have a career in politics when she was a child, life circumstances and experiences changed her direction. Her mother struggled with a very serious mental illness. “In the depths of her mental health crisis, I was 22 or 23 years old and had to start raising my sisters and become the caregiver for my mom as well,” Wu said in an interview, adding that her two sisters are six and 12 years younger than her.
“So, in that moment, I went from being someone who had been actively pushed away from ever thinking about politics and government to then having to deal with the structures and systems of the government over and over again in our daily lives and in our struggles against it— whether it was trying to care for my sisters and get them into the right school placements or get my mom health care for her situation.”
Michelle Wu broke Boston’s 200-year pattern of only electing white men for the job. Wu has been a voice for accessibility, transparency, and community engagement in city leadership. First elected to the Boston City Council in November 2013 at the age of 28, Wu was the first Asian-American woman to serve on the Council. In January 2016, she was elected President of the City Council in a unanimous vote, becoming the first woman of color to serve as Council President. Wu got her start in City Hall working for Mayor Thomas M. Menino as a Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy, where she created the city’s first guide to the restaurant permitting process from start to finish, and was also a driving force to launch Boston’s food truck program. She later served as statewide Constituency Director in the U.S. Senate campaign of her former law professor, Elizabeth Warren. With an action packed background in community advocacy, Michelle Wu will be a nondiscriminatory voice for the people of Boston. Throughout the Mayoral campaign Wu proposed policies designed to tackle the city’s racial wealth gap and climate change including rent stabilization, and a “city-level Green New Deal agenda” that would invest in clean energy sources and plant more trees, among other initiatives.
In 2016, Councilor Wu was honored as one of Ten Outstanding Young Leaders by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and as part of Marie Claire magazine’s New Guard: The 50 Most Influential Women in America. Michelle Wu graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. She is fluent in Mandarin and Spanish, and lives in Roslindale with her husband Conor and her sons Blaise and Cass.
We are proud to celebrate Mayor Elect, Michelle Wu.