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Janey is the first black woman to be elected mayor of Boston.



Janey is the first black woman to be elected mayor of Boston.
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Janey is the first black woman to be elected mayor of Boston.

Janey is the first black woman to be elected mayor of Boston.


Kim Janey, the city’s first female and first person of color, was sworn in as the city’s new mayor on Monday.

Marty Walsh resigned on Monday evening to take over as labor secretary for Vice President Joe Biden. Janey, the Black president of the Boston City Council, has stepped into the position of acting mayor and will be sworn in on Wednesday.

Walsh, the latest in a long line of mostly Irish-American Boston mayors spanning more than a century — with one notable exception — said he was pleased with the move.

Walsh said earlier in the evening, “History will be made tonight.” “We are a city that is highly diverse, with people from all walks of life, nationalities, and skin tones. It’s a positive thing for our city, in my opinion. It’s a fantastic opportunity for our city.”

Following Walsh’s confirmation by the United States Senate, Janey took to Twitter to wish him well.

“Congratulations, Secretary Walsh, on your confirmation. She tweeted, “You are a proud son of Dorchester who will bring our city with you.” “Your enthusiasm will greatly help America’s working people.”

Janey, a fellow Democrat, said, “Now, we look forward to a new day — a new chapter — in Boston’s history.”

Walsh said he’s had daily meetings and talks with Janey for the past two months. According to him, the two have also conducted lengthy planning sessions.

“The council president and I, as well as our teams, have worked tirelessly to ensure a seamless transition,” he said.

Janey’s rise has been lightning fast by every political stopwatch. She was sworn in as a city councilor for the first time three years ago.

Despite the fact that Janey, 55, is only serving as temporary mayor, she is widely regarded as ushering of a new era in Boston politics.

Michelle Wu, Andrea Campbell, and Annissa Essaibi George, all current city councilors, are among those running for the position. Jon Santiago, a state representative, and John Barros, a Cape Verdean, are also running. Under Walsh, Barros was in charge of economic growth.

Janey has a long history of activism in Boston, having grown up in Roxbury, the city’s Black heartland.

While attending Boston University, his grandfather, Daniel Benjamin Janey, was a member of Twelfth Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. worshipped. In 1964, her father was one of only eight Black students to graduate from Boston Latin School, the city’s prestigious high school.

Janey was introduced to the city’s political culture when visiting her great grandmother’s home in the city’s South End district, where she witnessed a neighbor — Black community leader and former state Rep. Mel King — run for mayor in 1983, but lose to Ray Flynn, an Irish-American city councilor.

Janey would remember the rocks and racial slurs she said were thrown at her as an 11-year-old girl riding the bus to the overwhelmingly white neighborhood of Charlestown during the second period of Boston’s turbulent school desegregation age. Later, she would enroll in a program that would encourage her to attend school outside of the city.

Janey started her advocacy work with Massachusetts Advocates for Children, where she pushed for legislative reforms aimed at ensuring fairness and excellence for Boston public school students.

She became the first woman to represent her district, which encompasses much of Roxbury, parts of the South End, Dorchester, and Fenway areas of the city, in a 13-candidate election in 2017.

Although she hasn’t said if she’ll run for mayor in the fall, an acting mayor has previously used the role as a stepping stone to winning the seat outright.

When former Mayor Raymond Flynn resigned to become President Bill Clinton’s ambassador to the Vatican, then-city council president Thomas Menino took over as acting mayor in July 1993, won the mayoral election later that year, and went on to serve in the role for the longest time in the city’s history.

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