On Tuesday inside the Boston City Council Chambers, Michelle Wu made history and was sworn in as the first female and first woman of color to ever serve as Mayor of Boston in the city’s history.
After Reverend Dr. Arlene Hall delivered the invocation and Acting Mayor Kim Janey provided brief remarks, Wu was administered the Oath of Office by Boston Municipal Court Associate Justice Judge Myong Joun with her husband, Conor Pewarski, and two boys Cass and Blaise at her side.
Keeping with her campaign promise of rolling up her sleeves and getting to work as soon as possible the short inaugural exercises took less than a half hour.
Wu started off her inaugural speech with a metaphor of how City Hall was when she was first elected as an At-Large Councilor in 2013.
“Since we’re here today, I must share that the Council floor wasn’t always this way,” she began. “When I joined the Council, this space wasn’t fully accessible to everyone. The floor that some are sitting on right now, was much lower, designed as a pit three steps down — a striking feature part of what many or I would call the beautiful architecture of City Hall. Three steps prevented Bostonians in wheelchairs and with mobility challenges from coming down directly to testify on this floor and advocate for change. Those three steps were a barrier between our government and the people we are here to serve. So we changed what this space could be, reshaped it to be accessible for everyone, and brought the floor level up three steps. When we make City Hall more accessible, we are all raised up. When we communicate in many languages, we all understand more.Most of all, when we connect the power of city government to the force of our neighborhoods and communities, we see how much is possible for our city.”
Wu said she always felt city government was special.
“City government is special. We are the level closest to the people, so we must do the big and the small,” said Wu. “Every streetlight, every pothole, every park and classroom, lays the foundation for greater change. Not only is it possible for Boston to deliver basic city services and generational change — it is absolutely necessary at this moment. We’ll tackle our biggest challenges by getting the small things right, and by getting City Hall out of City Hall and into our neighborhoods, block by block, street by street. After all, Boston was founded on a revolutionary promise: that things don’t have to be as they always have been. That we can chart a new path for families now, and for generations to come, grounded in justice and opportunity. And we can take steps to raise us all up to that promise, together.”
Wu said her administration’s charge will be to reach every corner of Boston and listen to the questions and concerns of all.
“Our charge is to see every person and listen. To meet people where they are. To give hope and deliver on it. To find joy, in the words of the amazing Kim Janey, and spread it. Let history note not just who she was in this office, but all she got done, and all she will continue to do for our city,” she said.
Wu said the first time she set foot in Boston City Hall, she felt invisible but today she sees what’s possible in the building.
“I see all the public servants raising us up — frontline workers, first responders, teachers and bus drivers, building inspectors, city workers,” she said. “I am deeply honored to work alongside you and I ask everyone to join me in expressing our gratitude for your service. And I ask everyone to join us in service of our communities. Boston, our charge is clear. We need everyone to join us in the work of doing the big and the small, getting City Hall out of City Hall, and embracing the possibility of our city. The reason to make Boston for everyone is because we need everyone for Boston, right now.”
“We have so much work to do, and it will take all of us to get it done. So let’s get to work,” she concluded.