Boston, Massachusetts is one of the most significant historical cities in the United States, but to date, it has only been run by White men. That is about to change, however, as its nearly 685,000 residents are poised to elect its first-ever non-White mayor.
“Bostonians will go to the polls Tuesday in what is locally called a preliminary election, winnowing more than half a dozen mayoral candidates down to two for the general contest in November. All the leading candidates are women of color. The coming milestone — one already marked by nearly every other major U.S. city — follows a remarkable decade of change and growth here. Residents of color now comprise a majority of the population, with Black and Hispanic communities each representing about 19 percent and Asian residents about 11 percent,” The Washington Post reported on Saturday.
“Every mayor since John Phillips in 1822 has been a White man,” Michael Curry, a former president of the Boston NAACP, told the Post. “You’ve left talent on the table.”
Boston has become heavily diversified in recent decades, and the individuals whom Bostonians are electing to represent them are finally starting to resemble a more heterogeneous population.
Per the Post:
In 2018, Ayanna Pressley unseated incumbent Michael E. Capuano in the Democratic primary in the state’s 7th Congressional District, which includes much of Boston. Her victory in the general election only added to her distinctions: she is the first Black woman to win a seat on the city council and the first woman of color to represent the commonwealth in Congress.
That same year, Rachael Rollins became the first Black woman to be elected district attorney not only in Suffolk County, which includes Boston, but in the state. President [Joe] Biden recently nominated her to be U.S. attorney for Massachusetts.
In this year’s mayoral contest, Bostonians have narrowed down their preferred candidates to a list consisting almost exclusively of women of color.
“Three polls this summer showed Councilor Michelle Wu — the first Asian American woman to serve on that body — leading with between 25 percent and 30 percent support. Acting Mayor Kim Janey and Councilor Andrea Campbell, who are Black, and Councilor Annissa Essaibi George, whose heritage is of Arab and Polish descent, were in tight contention for second place,” the Post noted. “Former city economic development director John Barros, who is Black, hung in the low single digits.”
At a recent event, Janey recalled her personal struggles during racial segregation and commended Boston on the progress it has made toward diversity, equality, and inclusion.
“I stand here as someone who grew up in the city of Boston, was bused during the desegregation era, faced rocks and racial slurs as an 11-year-old girl just trying to get an education,” she said, adding that her potential elevation to the mayorship “is a testament to how far our city has come.”
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.