Kim Janey was sworn into office as the acting mayor of Boston during an unprecedented ceremony last Wednesday inside City Hall, and she took note of the history she had just made in her inaugural address that followed.
“Today is a new day,” Janey said after being sworn in by Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Kimberly Budd. “I stand before you as the first woman and first Black mayor of Boston, the city that I love. I come to this day with life experience that is different from the men that came before me.”
Janey was previously the president of the City Council and the first female councillor to represent District 7, which encompasses Roxbury and the South End. She transitioned to mayor after former Mayor Martin Walsh was confirmed as US Secretary of Labor the previous Monday.
In an interview after her inauguration, Janey told the Reporter that she will make an announcement about whether she will join the race to seek a full, four-year term as mayor in the fall within the next few weeks.
“My teenage grandsons were born at a time when there had never even been a Black woman on our city council,” Janey said. “Today, my six-year-old granddaughter Rosie and other little girls can see themselves represented in Massachusetts’s highest court, in the halls of Congress, and now, in the 55th mayor of Boston.”
Reverend Willie Brodrick II, senior pastor of Twelfth Baptist Church gave the invocation to start the ceremony. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, the first Black woman to serve on Boston’s City Council, then introduced Janey.
“This is a proud day for the city of Boston and all Bostonians, but I know this has a special meaning for those who dare to dream a different future for our city across the generations,” Pressley said. “Today, that seemingly improbable dream is a reality.”
After the ceremony, Janey listed some of her goals as mayor, among hem, tackling the pandemic, reopening schools, and closing the city’s wealth gap. She noted that many equity issues present before the pandemic have gotten worse due to the coronavirus.
“Let’s not be afraid to tackle the longer-term challenges that we face together,” she said. “From racial justice to environmental justice, from affordable housing to our transit system, from our public schools to public safety, we cannot go back. Our only option is to go better.”
Janey closed the ceremony by calling all Bostonians to work with her for Boston’s future.
”I vow to be a mayor for the entire city, for every neighborhood, and for you,”she said. “If we all work together there is nothing that Boston can’t accomplish.”
On the day before, Janey had visited the Edwards Middle School in Charlestown, which she attended in the 1970s.
“One of the classrooms that I visited was exploring this time in our city’s history; they were discussing desegregation of our schools,” Janey told the Reporter. “To be able to step into that class as someone who experienced that firsthand as an 11-year-old girl and then share what I experienced –– sharing my story and then standing there before them as the first Black mayor of our city and the first woman mayor – was particularly powerful.”
When asked whether she intends to carry over staff from the Walsh administration, Janey said there could be some changes, but she did not confirm any decisions.
“There is a lot of talent in this building and I am excited to work with everyone here. With all transitions, sometimes there can be some movement,” she said.
“Folks that are here are certainly welcome to stay, but if there is some movement, we will move quickly to fill positions as they become open.”