Mayor Michelle Wu hit the ground running on November 17 with her first press conference since being sworn in as Boston’s first elected woman mayor and mayor of color on November 16.
“I’m excited to start our first full day in the office,” Wu told reporters. She said she took the Orange Line to City Hall, where she spoke with residents about their “thoughts and hopes and challenges already.”
Wu said that she had plans to speak with Governor Charlie Baker as well as meet internally with staff.
She then answered questions from reporters on topics ranging from the school committee to Mass and Cass to parting gifts from Acting Mayor Kim Janey.
When asked about the school committee, Wu said “this is a very direct and personal issue for me.” She said that “larger conversations” need to be had when it comes to Boston Public Schools (BPS), and the community needs to be more involved.
Wu said she has already spoken with BPS Superintendent Brenda Cassellius and the chair of the Boston School committee “about moving toward more community listening sessions out in the neighborhoods,” as well as”push for multilingual outreach. There are still very pressing issues related to pandemic recovery that I want to make sure our school leaders and district leaders have a firm grasp on,” she said.
“The crises at Mass. Ave. and Melnea Cass Blvd. are top of mind for residents across Boston as well as departments across City Hall and City government.”
She spoke of the lawsuit by the ACLU of Massachusetts against the city for the removal of people from the area. Wu said that the city “will be pausing the removals while this is happening,” and the goal is to address the issue from a “public health and housing lens.”
She said that “we’re in court today,” and are “pausing removals pending the outcome of that legal process.”
Wu was also asked about the recent announcement that temporary housing for up to 30 people will be established at the Shattuck site in Jamaica Plain. She said that as temperatures continue to drop, “it is life or death” for residents who do not have homes. She said that the plan is to “move quickly for short term solutions,” and she plans on speaking with Governor Baker about this issue as well.
Additionally, Wu said that she is “grateful to Mayor Walsh for his leadership,” and will “certainly be seeking his advice along with Mayor Flynn. I hope and anticipate that he and Mayor Flynn and everyone will be part of our official larger inauguration.”
On taking the T, Wu said that it’s the fastest way for her to get from her home in Roslindale to City Hall at rush hour.
She said that on Wednesday morning, it was a quick, easy ride with no delays, but it was “quite full already,” adding that “we are seeing that there is a huge, huge demand as our businesses are opening back up.”
Lastly, Wu spoke about gifts that Acting Mayor Kim Janey left for her as the mayoral baton was transferred. She said that Janey left her a letter reminding her that it’s important to “be out in the community and connect with residents to really see what’s possible in our city.”
Janey also left bins of activities for her two young sons, Blaise and Cass, as well as a print with the silhouettes of Kamala Harris and Ruby Bridges that she had signed with a message.
Overall, Wu said that she is ready to get to work and continue “coming into this building that I love.” She said that she will ensure that city spaces are “family friendly,” as well as “getting City Hall out of City Hall and into our neighborhoods” and “embrace the possibility of Boston and our city government to reach beyond how things always have been done.”