When I was sworn in as the first Black and first woman Mayor of Boston, I talked about how far our city has come, but also about how much work we still have to do.
And in that time, I have gotten to work.
As Mayor, I am focused, first and foremost, on leading the city’s efforts to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. I have visited and volunteered at a number of mobile vaccination clinics, meeting residents where they are. I launched a city hotline for vaccine appointments for populations disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. And I invested $1.5 million dollars in a Vaccine Equity Grant Initiative to partner with community groups, in an effort to reach vulnerable populations.
I am centering workers in our economic recovery to ensure that it is equitable. To this end, I started a pilot program to get 1000 Boston workers pre-paid Charlie Cards and Blue Bike passes in five hard hit Main Street business districts.
Working with the business community, I am setting a goal of 5000 summer jobs for Boston teens. Our young people are resilient, but they have missed out on so much over the last year. It is important that we provide opportunities for them to learn AND earn.
And like so many challenges facing our city, the housing crisis was with us long before Covid. The pandemic has exacerbated these challenges. In my first week as mayor, I announced $50 million in desperately needed rental relief to help families stay in their homes.
And that’s why I am running for a full term as Mayor: to ensure that we continue to get that work and so much more done for the people of Boston.
The work to address the challenges we face from Covid and racial inequalities that have been inherited from centuries of structural racism will take longer than 7 months to change. It is going to take fearless leadership, bold action, and a commitment to doing the hard work to make Boston the equitable city our residents want, need, and deserve. And I am 100% committed to leading this change.
I bring to City Hall, and to this race, a life experience like none of my predecessors.
As a daughter of Roxbury and the South End, I understand the challenges so many of our residents are facing – from structural racism, food and housing insecurity, failing schools, and faltering public transportation, hurdles to home ownership, and fear for our family’s and neighbor’s safety. I understand these challenges, because I have lived them.
Those experiences inform how I govern – and how I lead our City – through a lens of equity, justice, and love – for every Bostonian.
That means ensuring we continue the fight against COVID – with equitable distribution of the vaccine and economic assistance for communities that were hardest hit. This recovery is our chance to build a more equitable city for every resident.
That means getting our students and teachers back in the classroom safely and tackling the opportunity and achievement gaps that the pandemic has only exacerbated. We need to focus on each child – their lives both in and outside the classroom – to ensure they have the support systems they need to learn and succeed.
That means implementing policing reforms that will bring safety, healing and justice to all of our neighborhoods. We need to reimagine policing in our city. We also need a greater focus on the root causes of crime – lack of economic opportunity, an education system that leaves too many kids behind, and the lingering and untreated trauma that infects too many of our neighborhoods.
That means fighting for a public transportation system that is affordable and reliable. Failing public transit can derail all of the progress we need to make relative to economic growth, racial equity, and climate. Boston is a world class city, and we need a world class transportation system. Part of that means demanding greater investment and accountability from our federal and state partners – but it also means finding solutions on the city level that can make a positive difference in our residents’ daily lives.
Finally, it means a renewed emphasis on building housing that actually works for the residents of Boston. That means prioritizing mixed-income development, not just luxury or affordable. We need housing for working families that are being displaced. And we need to make home ownership – and the generational wealth that it creates – possible for those who have for too long been denied the American Dream.
It comes down to this:
As we recover, together, as a city … We can’t simply go back to the way things were, our only option is to go better — a better Boston, a stronger Boston, a more equitable Boston.
55th Mayor of Boston