On Monday, in one of the shortest and perhaps the coldest Boston City Council inaugurations in recent history, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu swore in returning and new members of the Council outside City Hall.
Due to the rising number of COVID cases the event was moved outdoors for safety reasons and with a brisk chill in the air the entire inauguration was over in less than a half hour.
After swearing in the 12 members of the Council, Mayor Wu addressed the body and noted the historic significance of the day.
“This year marks 200 years since the Town of Boston officially became the City of Boston and created its very first city council 200 years ago,” Mayor Wu began. “Those first 55 city councilors looked different from the body that we have just inaugurated today. One hundred years after the city council was created there still were no women and no people of color serving in the City of Boston. So as we mark this new year, it’s truly not just about the passage of time, but the progress that the city has seen, and that we will continue to rush into in this time of great consequence. I’m so excited to join my colleagues and celebrate our five new city councilors.”
At-large Councilors include sitting Councilors Michael Flaherty and Julia Mejia, along with new Councilors Ruthzee Louijeune and Erin Murphy. Districts 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, and 9 will be represented by sitting Councilors Lydia Edwards, Ed Flynn, Frank Baker, Ricardo Arroyo, Kenzie Bok, and Liz Breadon, respectively. Brian Worrell is a new Councilor who will represent District 4, Kendra Hicks is a new Councilor who will represent District 6, and Tania Fernandes Anderson is a new Councilor who will represent District 7.
Wu said the incoming Councilors sworn in during Monday’s historic ceremony represent many key milestones.
“Tania Fernandes Anderson is the first African and first Muslim City Councilor who brings experience and service and creativity that shines through with every action and statement she makes,” said Wu. “Kendra Hicks is the first woman of color to represent District 6 and she is an activist, organizer, artist and inspiration and I’m so excited to work alongside her. Ruthzee Louijeune is the first Haitian-American City Councilor and someone whose love of Boston has been clear from the very earliest days growing up in the city, who gave tours celebrating the beauty of Boston and has now brought her experience in law to serve her community. Erin Murphy, a BPS teacher, single mother, and advocate for those struggling with addiction and substance abuse is already starting to fight for you and Brian Worrell, a small business owner and the first Black man to serve on the Council since 2017 who is already a great partner.”
Wu added that she knows the deep responsibility that constituents placed upon her and the Council and knows first hand the power of the Boston City Council to make sure the city is moving forward on the issues.
“So as our new colleagues join alongside our returning colleagues, those who have been proud and honored to serve alongside for many, many years, I know the progress that we will continue to see in the city,” she said. “At this moment our constituents and our community expect us to move with urgency to open doors for everyone and to deliver results. We’re ready to partner in every way.”
Wu then addressed the surging Omnicron variant of the COVID-19 virus that is spreading like wildfire across the city with nearly 2 out of every 10 people tested last week in the city were found to be positive.
“We are all here at an inauguration that looks very different from the one we expected even a couple of weeks ago,” said Wu. “Sitting here outside in the cold we must let this be a reminder of what so many in our city have to live with every single day. Our residents who have been standing outside in the cold for hours waiting for a test to make sure they can keep their family safe. We must do better. Our residents who are living unhoused in tents at Mass and Cass and across the city, we’re taking action and we must do better. And for so many residents who have been outside in the cold because of systems that have not seen and valued every single one of our community members we are going to do better and I look forward to the collaboration with the City Council to make that happen. With this new year, let us find warmth in each other even as we face stiff headwinds. We will make progress and make sure that we are always holding the light of our Boston residents in front of us and build that community that we need and we deserve in 2022.”