Janey marks 100 days in office
Hosts gathering at African Meeting House
Family, friends, cabinet members, elected officials and press were among the invitees filling the pews at the Museum of African American History on Beacon Hill, a meeting house where Frederick Douglass had held an audience.
The National Anthem, sung by Boston police officer Kim Tavares, and Danny Rivera’s rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” bookended the event that included a video of highlights from Janey’s first months in office and a musical spoken-word piece performed by Ashley Rose and Danielle the Buddafly.
During the celebration of her first 100 days in office, Janey gave an address recapping her office’s achievements and made some announcements. The city will offer up to $40,000 in down payment assistance for homebuyers; the Board of Health has appointed Mass General Brigham’s Dr. Bisola Ojikutu as the next executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission to take over from Rita Nieves, who served in the position on an interim basis since December 2019; Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius and Chief of Policy and Planning Mary Churchill will lead efforts to form a Children’s and Youth Cabinet.
Not discussed at the celebratory event was Janey’s firing of Dennis White, who was appointed as Boston’s police commissioner without vetting, then quickly put on suspension by former mayor Martin J. Walsh, who became the U.S. Labor Secretary in March. However, Janey later stressed the need to update some police department policies, including the domestic violence policy.
“We have made strategic investments in this budget when it comes to reimagining the police, everything from the mental health pilot to making sure we’re investing in racial equity, building up the cadet program so we can have more diversity on the force, as well as investing in the office of police accountability and transparency so that we are dealing with these issues when they arise, and hopefully creating a path forward and a culture where these issues will become fewer and fewer,” she said.
Janey said that though Roxbury and the South End are where she was raised, she loves visiting all of Boston, from Little Saigon in Fields Corner and the Latin Quarter in Jamaica Plain to Roxbury’s Nubian Square and Charlestown, where she experienced busing and racism as a child but now sees a strong community where children have more positive educational opportunities than what she had.
“Roxbury is my home. I grew up in Roxbury. I love Roxbury. It is where I live now, but what has always been clear is that I love my city. This city, you know, has given me so much,” Janey told the Banner.
“There’s a lot of power having a mayor who comes from and lives in this neighborhood, and a mayor who experienced and — current tense — experiences many of these challenges that are still with us to this day,” she said.
“I’m grateful that I get to bring that lens to this work as I help people all over, because one thing that you will find out is that the things people in Roxbury care about are often the things that people in West Roxbury care about. Everybody wants the opportunity to buy a home, to have great parks, to send their kids to great schools. These things are not different depending on what neighborhood you’re in. That’s what people want, that’s part of living out the American dream.”