Special to the Patriot-Bridge
Boston City Councilor At-Large Ruthzee Louijeune has been sworn in as the President of the Boston City Council, making her not only the third Black woman to hold this position, but also the first Haitian-American.
‘It was an honor to nominate Councilor Ruthzee Louijeune as council president.’ said District 1 Councilor Gabriella Coletta. ‘I’m confident the Council will promote collaboration, governance, and accountability this legislative session.’
“I am excited for what’s to come for our city, and believe that our collective work can transform our beloved city into one where every person feels honored, safe, housed, and healthy.” said Louijuene. “I am hopeful, and I am grateful, because the only way we get through, the only way we thrive, the only way we push forward, is together.”
“Councilor Louijeune has shown she knows how to build bridges to address issues that impact all Boston residents from tackling crucial city services to spearheading initiatives that create more affordable housing and uplift our most underserved communities’ said District 4 Councilor Brian Worrell. ‘I am proud to support her as our next Council President in my capacity as Council Vice President and look forward to partnering with her and all of our colleagues to deliver for our City.’
There is additional significance to the swearing in, as January 1st also celebrates Haitian Independence Day, the most important holiday in the Haitian community. On January 1, Haitians celebrate their role in history as the first free Black republic in the Western hemisphere and the only country in the world founded from a slave revolt. Boston is home to the third largest Haitian diaspora in the country.
As Louijeune was sworn in, the chambers filled with family, friends, and loved ones dawned in red and blue, celebrating both Haitian Independence Day and her history-making appointment.
In her first speech as council president, Louijeune outlined a vision for the city of Boston that addresses historic inequities while envisioning a future that welcomes everyone to the table. From addressing barriers to homeownership, to creating stronger models for waste collection in all of our neighborhoods, to ensuring that every BPS student has the tools they need to reach their full potential, and working with our unions to make sure that Boston is a city that continues to put people before profit.
Louijeune recognized and offered flowers to her predecessor, Ed Flynn, who served as president during her first term in office. She also welcomed new colleagues Enrique Pepen, John Fitzgerald, Henry Santana, and Ben Weber.
During Louijeune’s first term, she met the moment with passion, work ethic, and deep love for Boston. She successfully led the council through the tumultuous redistricting process, passing a map that met standards set by a federal court order. As Chair of the Committee on Civil Rights and Immigrant Advancement, she pushed for additions in the budget, securing funds for fair housing testers, a municipal wage study, expanding the Office of Returning Citizens, increased housing support for vulnerable populations, and initiatives for affordable homeownership. She has been an advocate for legalizing beekeeping citywide, increasing the frequency of trash pickup for cleaner streets, and actively works to bridge gaps and distribute resources to every neighborhood.
As president, Louijeune is committed to building on her previous work, while uplifting the issues that her colleagues hold dearly.
“One thing to know about me is that I unequivocally reject any zero-sum mentality that suggests that for one group to succeed, another must lose,” Louijeune stated.
The newly-sworn in council is a profound representation of the vibrancy and diversity that makes up Boston. Louijeune is hopeful that during her tenure, this body will embrace different perspectives and lived experiences, while also acting as a strong collective voice for the people of Boston.