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Harvard Alum Michelle Wu ’07 Elected Boston’s 56th Mayor

Boston City Councilor and Harvard alum Michelle Wu '07 will become Boston's 56th mayor, the first woman and person of color elected in the city's history, following a decisive victory over City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George Tuesday.
Boston City Councilor and Harvard alum Michelle Wu '07 will become Boston's 56th mayor, the first woman and person of color elected in the city's history, following a decisive victory over City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George Tuesday. By Brandon L. Kingdollar
By Brandon L. Kingdollar, Crimson Staff Writer

BOSTON — Boston City Councilor and Harvard alum Michelle Wu ’07 will become Boston’s 56th mayor, the first woman and person of color elected in the city’s history, following a decisive victory over City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George Tuesday.

Wu defeated Essaibi George by a margin of 63.6 to 36.4 percent, with all precincts reporting. Wu becomes the first Harvard College alum to serve as Mayor of Boston in nearly 100 years, since the 1925 election of Malcolm E. Nichols, Class of 1899, a wealthy Boston Brahmin Republican.

Wu took a commanding lead early in the race, buoyed by endorsements from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and other progressive stalwarts, and never let go. She defeated Essaibi George, Acting Mayor Kim Janey, and City Councilor Andrea J. Campbell in September’s preliminary election.

The Wu campaign held an election night event at the Boston Center for the Arts. The night began with a live Latin jazz performance and ended with Queen’s “We Are The Champions” and raining confetti, as Wu took the stage alongside a sea of volunteers shortly after Essaibi George’s concession.

“One of my sons asked me the other night if boys can be elected mayor of Boston,” Wu said. “They have been, and they will again someday, but not tonight.”

Wu, the first woman elected mayor in Boston’s 391-year history, said the city is ready to “become a Boston for everyone,” welcoming “all who call our city home.”

“Boston is ready to become a Green New Deal city,” Wu said. “We are the city of the first public school in the country, the first public park, the first subway tunnel in the country. We’re the city of revolution.”

“Today, together, we are marching into Boston’s promise,” she added.

Wu campaigned on the promise of a Green New Deal for Boston and will now seek to implement it as mayor. Released by Wu in August 2020, her plan for a Green New Deal aims to “mitigate the threat of climate change, attack poverty and economic inequality, close the wealth gap, and dismantle structural racism.”

At Tuesday’s event, Michele A. Brooks, a volunteer on the Wu campaign and a member of the Sierra Club, called Wu a “climate justice champion,” and said she believes Wu will achieve a Green New Deal for Boston.

“Everything that I have heard Michelle commit to get done, she gets done,” Brooks said. “That’s another reason why I was so excited to volunteer for her, because I trust her.”

“I think it signifies a real shift in the kind of city that we want to be, and that is — like Michelle’s message — a city for everyone, inclusive, equitable, and just city that is welcoming to people of all races, of all genders, of all different backgrounds,” Brooks added.

Helen Li, another volunteer with the campaign, brought her two daughters to the event to see Wu’s victory in person.

“It’s very important to teach future generations that we have to be in charge of our choice,” Li said. “Otherwise, it will be chosen for us.”

Li, a daughter of immigrants, said she hopes her children see “a piece of them” in the Wu administration.

“They will, I think, feel less afraid in the future to see themselves in the spotlight,” Li said. “They will hopefully be encouraged to speak up for the voiceless.”

Wu thanked Essaibi George as well as Janey — who became the first woman and person of color to serve as Boston’s mayor in March — crediting the latter with “blazing this trail.”

In her concession speech, Essaibi George congratulated Wu on her historic election.

“I know this is no small feat. You know this is no small feat,” Essaibi George said. “I want her to show this city how mothers get it done.”

Wu, who will take office on Nov. 16, said she would be working closely with Janey’s administration over the coming weeks to ensure a smooth transition.

“Although we’ve put in a lot of work to get to this day, our movement does not end here. We have a lot of work to do,” Wu said. “Let’s celebrate tonight, and tomorrow, continue to work together.”

—Staff writer Brandon L. Kingdollar can be reached at brandon.kingdollar@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter at @newskingdollar.

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