Meet Kim Janey, The First Female Black Mayor in Boston

Kim Janey BeLatina Latinx
Photo Courtesy of NBC News.

On Wednesday, March 24, Kim Janey celebrated Women’s Month in a big way. She is now the 55th mayor of Boston, the first female Black woman ever to hold that position. 

Earlier in the week, Mayor Marty Walsh was tapped and confirmed as President Joe Bien’s labor secretary, making Janey the acting Mayor. Before her new role, she was entering her second year as Boston City Council president.

At the ceremony on Wednesday, Janey said, “I come to this day with life experience that is different from the men who came before me.” 

At a tense political and social moment for the United States, Kim Janey’s arrival as mayor of Boston is pivotal. Growing up in the 1970s, Janey was bused to school and experienced Boston’s desegregation process firsthand.

“I was forced onto the front lines. I had rocks and racial slurs thrown at my bus, simply for attending school while Black,” she added. 

Janey promised, “ bold, courageous, leadership, starting with an unrelenting focus to address the impacts of COVID-19.”

She added that, in order to get a grip on this, the city needed to do a better job of accessing vaccines, particularly in the communities that have been impacted the most by the pandemic. 

Aside from these promises, Janey will pinpoint the city’s unemployment rates and the wealth gap that is heavily driven by race. After 2020’s year of civil unrest, Janey is also committed to police reform. 

Her new role begins immediately, starting with choosing who will be the next police commissioner. Dennis White was appointed at suspended by Walsh after a domestic violence allegation surfaced twenty years later. 

Ayanna Pressley, the Massachusetts Congresswoman and the first Black woman to serve on Boston’s City Council, spoke at the ceremony, saying that Janey would “lead with clear eyes, a full heart and steady hand.” 

The first Black woman to lead the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Chief Justice Kimberly Budd, administered Janey’s office oath. 

Janey’s life resonates with the community she represents, having grown up in Roxbury,  becoming a mother at a young age, and cleaning bathrooms to afford to attend Smith College. 

As Janey said, it was ‘powerful’ to be living history for the students and their community. Many think the same. More proof that change is around the corner and the barriers we’re breaking are inspiring others to do the same and create the change we want to see in the world.