Boston mayoral candidates turn to black community for support – The Daily Free Press


A polling station in Concord, New Hampshire. Boston 2021 mayoral candidates Annissa Essaibi George and Michelle Wu are working to win base support from Kim Janey, Andrea Campbell and John Barros in the September 14 preliminary election. SOPHIE PARK / DFP FILE

By: Jit Ping Lee

As they enter the last month of campaigning before the general election, mayoral candidates Annissa Essaibi George and Michelle Wu vie for the support of those who previously voted for their defeated rivals in the September 14 preliminary elections.

Third to fifth place finalists Andrea Campbell, Kim Janey and John Barros won a total of 42.38% of the vote cast in the primary. These voters must now decide between Wu and Essaibi George on November 4.

Ed Burley, co-chair of the Jamaica Plain Progressives board, said the elimination of all black candidates in the preliminary elections was “shocking.”

“I think there is a big disappointment because people thought that this election, that there would definitely be a black mayor, or at the very least, a black finalist,” he said. “I feel like there is a lot of disappointment and frustration.”

Burley said he believed that because of this, turnout among black voters in Boston was “certainly a concern” – which makes the campaign all the more important.

MassINC Polling Group research director Richard Parr said it’s important to note where the majority of the losing pre-candidates’ electoral base comes from to predict who they might favor in a general election.

Parr added that Wu has done better than Essaibi George in the majority of areas where Janey, Campbell or Barros have won.

While Janey only placed fourth in the primary, she won the second most ridings, losing only to Wu. Election results Plans show Janey won majority minority areas of Roxbury, Mattapan, parts of Dorchester and Hyde Park.

“[Wu] tended to do better than Annissa Essaibi George in most of these places, “said Parr,” which is a sign that she is probably better positioned in these constituencies to garner more votes in the November election. “

However, State Representative Nika Elugardo D-Mass said voter turnout could be slowed due to the loss of a black mayoral candidate.

“I think it will be a big challenge to motivate people to come out,” Elguardo said. “Because I think historically African Americans don’t vote when they are discouraged in large percentages. And I think people are discouraged.

Burley said Wu and Essaibi George will have to work to win his vote and that of other black voters through their words, policies and behavior ahead of the election.

“For some people, either they don’t vote or, I think, it could be a significant number of black voters who decided to write a candidate who is not on the ballot,” did he declare.

Essaibi George and Wu both made concerted attempts to engage black voters.

Wu was recently approved by Janey and State Representative Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass, the first woman of color elected to Boston City Council and the first woman of color from Massachusetts elected to the United States Congress.

Janey explicitly called out the importance of the black vote in her speech of support.

“The black vote is very important to this election,” Janey said at the September 25 event. “It’s important for the future of Boston.”

Essaibi George on Tuesday launched its 46-page “Agenda for Equity, Inclusion and Justice” – which includes a $ 50 million fund that can be deployed directly to support black, Pacific Islander, Latin entrepreneurs. Americans and Asians within the first 100 days of their tenure.

“Creating a more equitable, inclusive and just Boston will be a burden I will intentionally and deliberately work for every day as mayor. Essaibi George said in a press release Tuesday.

Reverend Edwin Johnson of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Dorchester, where a majority of the congregation identifies as black, said some of the biggest issues for the congregation in this election are affordable housing, the fight against community violence and access to employment.

“Housing, security and employment are probably the biggest problems for our people,” he said.

Ashawn Dabney-Small, founder and executive director of The Black Society – a nonprofit community organization working with black and brown students in Boston – highlighted education and the police as other central concerns for the community.

“The education system has repeatedly failed black and brown students,” Dabney-Small said.

Part of Essaibi George’s agenda for equity, inclusion and justice is to increase confidence in the police service by requiring the posting of body camera images within 24 hours of an incident and double the community service budget of the police department, as well as fill up the Boston police. Recommendations of the reform working group.

However, Dabney-Small said the plan “would continue to take money from blacks and continue to take money from the city that could be allocated elsewhere.”

“The first thing we want to see corrected is the relationship restored within the Boston Police Department,” he said.

Elugardo noted the difference in the campaign styles of the two candidates when trying to understand the issues facing the black community.

She said Wu spent more time talking to community leaders to get a better idea of ​​the issues facing the black community while Essabi George focused her time on “grandmothers and grandfathers. and young people who are just in the community “.

Elugardo said that while both approaches are important, the “intellectual wisdom” on how to dismantle the structural problems facing people of color is also very essential.

A forum for black voters sponsored by four black clergy organizations brought together the two candidates on September 22. Johnson said he returned from the forum “full of hope” – that “our city will be in good hands anyway.”

“At the end of the day, we’re looking for candidates who are interested in people who don’t have that much voice,” he said. “It is the candidates who are willing to come to these places and interact with us who will be the candidates who are most able to represent us.”


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