BOSTON (WHDH) - Kim Janey, who had rocks thrown at her school bus as a child, made history on Wednesday when she was sworn in as Boston’s 55th mayor, officially becoming the first woman and first person of color to lead Massachusetts’ capital city.
“Today is a new day. I stand before you as the first woman and the first Black mayor of Boston, the city that I love. I come to this day with a life experience that is different from the men who came before me,” Janey explained during her speech at City Hall. “I was born into a family with deep roots in the South End and six generations in Roxbury, the center of our great city.”
Janey, 55, also vowed to close racial equity gaps in neighborhoods across the city.
“The problems laid bare by the pandemic were here well before COVID-19,” Janey said. “The issues of affordable housing, fair wages, public transportation, and climate change are not new.”
She added, “What’s different is these problems now impact even more of us. But, I believe these challenges create an opportunity – an opportunity to come together, to heal and build a better, more equitable city.”
Janey was sworn in by Chief Justice Kimberly Budd, who was recently named the first Black woman to lead the state’s Supreme Judicial Court.
U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley presided over the ceremony.
“She will lead with clear eyes, a full heart, and a steady hand,” Pressley said. “She will make a profound difference.”
Janey also credited her family with helping her rise to become mayor.
“I come from a long line of proud educators, entrepreneurs, artists, and advocates,” Janey said. “I am grateful for my parents who raised me, my daughter who inspired me, my siblings who supported me, and my aunties, uncles, and cousins who have always rooted for me. Thank you, all.”
Janey stepped up from her previous role as Boston City Council president when former Mayor Marty Walsh was confirmed as U.S. Labor Secretary and resigned.
She said she is now focused on addressing economic disparities, recovering from the pandemic, and safely reopening the city.
“As I assume the responsibilities of the mayor of Boston, I promise to give you bold, courageous leadership,” Janey said. “Over the past year, the same communities hardest hit by the public health crisis have experienced the highest rate of housing and food insecurity. I will address these economic disparities with new urgency to reopen Boston’s economy with equity.”
After taking a moment to recount her personal history as a Boston Public Schools student during the desegregation in the 1970s and the rocks that struck her bus, she stressed that the city’s recovery must include safely reopening schools and vaccinating teachers.
Janey will serve in an acting capacity for the nine months remaining in Walsh’s term. She has not said if she plans to run for mayor in the November election.
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