Kim Janey: Four interesting facts about Boston’s first Black and woman mayor

Ama Nunoo Mar 24, 2021 at 03:00pm

March 24, 2021 at 03:00 pm | Success Story, Women

Ama Nunoo

Ama Nunoo | Staff Writer

March 24, 2021 at 03:00 pm | Success Story, Women

Kim Janey is the first female and Black mayor of Boston. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi / Boston Globe via Getty Images

The future is female, and Boston’s new mayoral appointee is proof that it truly is. Kim Janey takes over from former mayor Marty Walsh after he was confirmed by the Senate to be Joe Biden’s labor secretary. Janey is now the first woman and Black mayor of Boston.

“Today is a new day for Boston,” Janey said. “As your mayor, I promise to bring my life experiences and passion to make this city better for everyone. I will strive to make positive change across our city.”

Per NBC, the 55-year-old, who was born and raised in Roxbury, the heart of the city’s Black community, will be interim mayor until elections are held in November. Although she has not announced her candidacy, there is precedence that when she does, there could be a probability of her winning the seat.

Janey’s roots in advocacy and education stem from being raised by educationists. Here are four other things you probably didn’t know about the mayor.

Her family is rooted in the history of Black America

Janey’s father was one of eight Black students to graduate from Boston’s prestigious Boston Latin School in 1964. Her grandfather, Daniel Benjamin Janey, attended the Twelfth Baptist Church where Martin Luther King, Jr. worshipped while attending Boston University.

She was exposed to Black activism at a tender age and in one instance, she witnessed the city’s political culture from her grandmother’s home. A Black community activist and former state Rep. Mel King launched her mayoral bid in 1983 as Janey looked on. King lost the seat to Ray Flynn, an Irish-American city councilor.

“That spirit of activism shaped me and who I am,” Janey said of King’s efforts to win the mayoral seat and of the gallant women who have paved the way for her. “It’s why my focus is on racial equity.”

She made history before becoming mayor of Boston

Janey won a 13-candidate race in 2017 to become the first female representative of her district which includes her native Roxbury, Dorchester, parts of the South End where her grandmother lived, and Fenway areas of the city.

Experienced desegregation

An 11-year-old Janey was caught up in the turbulent desegregation era where the school bus policy was introduced to bus Black students to the predominantly white neighborhood, Charlestown. Racial slurs and rocks were hurled at them as they rode into town.

“When I was just 11, school busing rolled into my life,” Janey wrote in her op-ed for the Globe. “I was forced onto the front lines of the 1970s school desegregation battle. I faced rocks and racial slurs thrown at my bus, for simply attending school while Black.”

Equal Education advocate

Janey’s career in advocacy began with the Massachusetts Advocates for children. She continually pushed for policy changes to allow equity and excellence for public school students in Boston.

She told The Boston Globe she had dedicated her entire life to education, for children, and families.

Janey is passionate about education because she comes from a town that gave birth to public education in the US and home to the country’s abolitionist movement.

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