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Wu celebrates inauguration with City Hall Plaza bash

Hundreds turn out for festivities

Anna Lamb
Wu celebrates inauguration with City Hall Plaza bash
Mayor Michelle Wu addresses supporters during her inauguration celebration. PHOTO: ANNA LAMB

After serving as mayor for nearly 7 months, Michelle Wu finally celebrated her fall victory with an inauguration celebration on City Hall Plaza.

Officially sworn into office on November 16, 2021, Wu is the first woman and first person of color to be elected mayor of Boston, succeeding the office of Kim Janey who served as interim mayor after Martin Walsh was appointed Secretary of Labor in the Biden administration. While a full inauguration with public events was planned for earlier in the year, the Wu administration postponed any celebratory gatherings amidst a spike in coronavirus cases.

The block party-style event Thursday was free and open to the public, drawing Wu supporters, city employees, students and families who enjoyed refreshments, face paint and music as part of Wu’s “Celebration of Boston’s Possibility.”

Children took advantage of face-painting during Wu’s inauguration celebration. PHOTO: ANNA LAMB

Festivities, paid for by a more than $1 million inauguration fund, took place under a large white tent set up amid ongoing construction on the plaza and purple banners with imagery of Boston transit and Wu’s “all aboard” slogan were accompanied by a slew of hanging disco balls at the center of the space.

Among those in attendance were Wu campaign volunteers turned avid supporters of her ongoing administration Carol Lasky and Leslie Pond.

“We’re so excited that she was a member of the City Council. And then to rise to this level — it’s just a shining moment for our city,” Lasky told the Banner.

Both longtime residents of the Fenway neighborhood, the two women pointed to the mayor’s progressive agenda as the reason for their vocal support.

“Just those bold visions of how can we make the T free for folks? And what can that mean for the city to do that, and putting in place the pilots, to be able to do that? I think that’s just wonderfully visionary,” Pond said.

Others enjoying the weather under the tent seemed less interested in the political policies of the mayor, and more in the games and activities.

When asked if she was excited to see the mayor, elementary schooler Chloe Paula, face painted to look like a dalmatian, said she was more excited to sing a song later with her siblings.

“I’m excited to do my song,” she said.

Also feeling the excitement of the day, was a group from the North Atlantic States Carpenters Training Fund hired to build Mayor Wu’s new podium — a reclaimed wood structure designed to reflect the brutalist architecture of city hall.

“Ang Li, assistant architectural professor at Northeastern, she’s the one who designed it with the mayor. And then she floated her concept to us and then we worked with her on how to fabricate it, and get it as it is right now,” NASCTF Superintendent Maurice Belanger said.

Wu, utilizing her new podium, gave a brief address during the afternoon party, telling the crowd how happy she was to have the opportunity to celebrate with reduced COVID worries and beautiful weather.

“Now we get to be here with all of Boston … celebrating on the soon to be completed new Boston City Hall Plaza with our new podium here,” she said. “I just want to pledge once again that the very same values and ideas and commitment to lifting up the voices in our neighborhoods, continues to drive our work every day.”

Wu’s first seven months in office have been marked by progress towards campaign promises like her fare-free bus pilot and the low threshold housing that is being used as a tool to mitigate the ongoing opioid crisis at “Mass and Cass.” However, she has also garnered her fair share of criticism — most recently clashing with city councilors on a reduction to the police budget she promised as a councilor herself.

As for what the future of her administration holds, Wu laid out a hopeful agenda to reporters.

“Just yesterday night we wrapped up our school superintendent search. We are wrapping up now our police commissioner search and today have named a new fire commissioner as well and so all the pieces are falling into place,” she said. “We’re building our team and are excited to take on even more with this incredible group of leaders and talent from all across our neighborhoods.”

The public event ended Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. A private reception with donors and colleagues took place under the tent later the same day.