After winning the mayoral nomination alongside Annissa Essaibi George, mayoral candidate Michelle Wu spoke to media and supporters at the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts on September 18, where she was joined by a group of supporters and endorsed by state senator Sonia Chang-Diaz. Wu spoke about why she believes she is the most fitting candidate for Boston’s next mayor.
“I’m here with a very simple message,” Chang-Diaz said at the event. “I’m Sonia Chang-Diaz, and I endorse this mayor.”
Chang-Diaz praised Wu for her action as a city councilor and on the campaign trail. “Michelle Wu is someone who can connect with all communities across the city and build the multicultural, multilingual, multigenerational, multiracial coalition that we need in this city,” she said.
Chang-Diaz also talked about Wu’s work on paid family leave, community choice energy, and working towards fare-free transit. “She has got the vision and the delivery, the practical know-how, and the grit. I am proud to endorse her today.”
South End resident Pedro Cruz also expressed his support for Wu, saying that he has “been super supportive of her since the first time we met.”
Wu said that she wanted to recognize the Villa Victoria, as it was where her first campaign for City Council launched back in 2013, and she lived in the South End when she first moved to Boston.
Wu said that Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA), which operates the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, “has been continuing to push for and secure more affordable housing in the community,” as well as offer youth programming.
“I am running for mayor to tackle the big challenges in Boston,” Wu said, talking about the climate crisis and steps the city can take to combat it.
“When we talk about safety and security and public health, there is a clear choice in this race,” she said/ “We have seen the injustices; the burdens that are put on Black and Brown families through decades of policymaking,” Wu said.
She continued, “this is a decision in this race about how we use our collective resources.”
Wu was asked what she would do for veterans, and she said that “policies have to be moving fast, and fitting together…we know what works in Boston.” She said that “breaking down the silos so that everybody is seen and heard and connected immediately” is “what we will do for veterans and also across the entire city.”
A reporter asked what Wu would to to gain support from Black voters, as all three Black candidates are now out of the race.
“I am so honored to be part of this moment in Boston,” Wu said. “The next mayor of Boston must center Black and Brown communities for this city to meet the moment…from transit justice to climate, housing, closing the racial wealth gap, we know that when communities of color receive resources and are centered that the entire city of Boston advances.”
Wu added that she believes home ownership and housing stability are key elements in moving forward following the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said that with the “once in a generation federal funding” allocated to the city, “now is the time to use every lever of government…”
Another resident asked Wu how she would end violence across the city.
“As a mom, I will do whatever it takes to make sure our streets are safe all throughout Boston,” Wu said. “We’ve even continued to see just in the last few days and weekends the trauma of violence in our communities and the impacts that ripple out fro there.”
She said that it will take “city resources” and “leadership” to tackle violence, as well as “thinking of public safety and public health as one ad the same.”
Wu called for more mental health and other public health resources to respond to 911 calls, as she said that “officers are not trained or equipped to respond” to many of the calls they receive.
When asked about her plan for the intersection of Mass. Ave. and Melnea Cass Blvd., she said that “what we see not too far from here is a failing of government; a feeling that you get that we have given up as a society when we see the overlap of substance abuse, our housing crisis, and mental health.”
She said she has already engaged in conversations with community health centers citywide “about expanding access to treatment and do so immediately.”’
Using city buildings that are underutilized for supportive housing has also been something Wu has talked about, as well as using “resources that we’ve been tying up in conversations about…a bridge in the ocean controlled by another city that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars,” referring to the Long Island Bridge. She suggested that there be ferry service to the island and that the city “move now, not ten years from now.”
When asked why this event was held at Villa Victoria, Wu said “this community represents what is possible in Boston when we believe in our city, when we fight for our communities and we make sure that we keep at it until it gets done.”