Kim Janey was sworn in as mayor of Boston on Wednesday, becoming the first Black person and first woman to hold the office.
Janey became acting mayor earlier this week when former Mayor Marty Walsh was confirmed as President Joe Biden’s secretary of labor. Janey was in her second year as Boston City Council president when Biden tapped Walsh for his cabinet.
“I come to this day with life experience that is different from the men who came before me,” Janey, a Boston native, said at Wednesday’s ceremony.
As a child in the 1970s, Janey was bused to class, sometimes under police escort, as part of Boston’s fraught attempt to desegregate schools.
“I was forced onto the front lines,” she said. “I had rocks and racial slurs thrown at my bus, simply for attending school while Black.”
As mayor, Janey said, “I promise to give you bold, courageous, leadership, starting with an unrelenting focus to address the impacts of COVID-19.”
“We must do a better job of making vaccines accessible, especially in communities hardest hit,” she said.
Janey also vowed to address the city’s racially divided unemployment rates and wealth gap, and said she’ll lead the implementation of policing reforms.
One of Janey’s immediate tasks is to decide on a police commissioner. Walsh appointed, and then suspended, Dennis White after a two-decade old domestic violence allegation surfaced.
Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, the first Black woman to serve on Boston’s City Council, also spoke at Wednesday’s ceremony, saying Janey “will lead with clear eyes, a full heart and steady hand.”
Chief Justice Kimberly Budd, the first Black woman to lead the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, administered Janey’s oath of office.