A coalition of community advocates that helped secure election victories for former mayor Martin J. Walsh and Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins is throwing its grass-roots muscle behind Boston’s Acting Mayor Kim Janey for a full term, members announced Saturday.
The group, Right to the City VOTE!, said Janey has demonstrated that she can lead the city and help it turn a critical corner. The coalition, which has a super PAC, pointed to her record both as a city councilor and as the city’s interim chief executive, taking note of her personal background and accomplishments thus far in office.
“Kim Janey is the mayor for the moment,” said Armani White, who chairs Right to the City VOTE!
White said Janey is the candidate who can best unify the city.
“Her record before and since taking office, on reforming exam school admissions, police accountability, and opening up economic opportunities come from her own lived experience and deep community roots,” White said.
Right to the City VOTE! aims to put its enormous grass-roots weight behind the “city’s first Black and first woman mayor,” the coalition said in a statement, noting its decision is advancing a political movement anchored by the “organizing, base-building, and power-building of residents most impacted by inequities.”
Janey said in a statement that she is humbled to receive the endorsement, which includes support from Chinese Progressive Political Action and Mijente, a Latinx and Chicanx social justice organization. She cited her two decades as a community organizer and activist fighting on the front lines for racial justice, high-quality early education and child care, and equity and excellence in Boston Public Schools.
“As mayor, I pledge to continue these fights and more — hand in hand with these progressive grassroots organizations. That means fighting for affordable housing and rent stabilization, reimagining policing in Boston, and supporting and uplifting immigrant communities across the city,” Janey said.
She accepted the endorsement Saturday morning at Dudley Cafe in Nubian Square.
The coalition was critical in the 2013 general election, after a door closed on electing a candidate of color for Boston mayor. The coalition — made up of advocates representing working-class immigrants and communities of color from Charlestown, Chinatown, Roxbury, and other parts of Boston — put its force behind Walsh back then, helping to elevate him over his rival, former city councilor John Connolly.
The coalition also endorsed Rollins in 2018 and was instrumental in getting the most progressive city council in history into office, White said.
The coalition began this year’s endorsement process in December 2020, devising a platform of policy priorities that members said would “most equitably improve” the quality of life for communities on the margins. It sent out and reviewed questionnaires to the candidates, and interviewed each this spring. It also held a series of forums with the Greater Boston Labor Council that focused on racial justice, immigration, jobs and workers, education, climate justice, and housing and land, the coalition’s statement said.
Right to the City VOTE! chose Janey after “lengthy deliberations and contemplating the merits of multiple progressive candidates,’’ the coalition said in a statement.
Suzanne Lee, a longtime Chinatown activist and former BPS principal who is part of the coalition, said she has witnessed Janey’s passion and commitment to addressing opportunity gaps for low-income students, immigrants, and students with special needs.
“She has proven how she uses her lived experiences to inform her decisions toward governance,” Lee said in a statement. “She is the person we need at this time in history to unite our city to be a more equitable and inclusive Boston for all residents.”
Janey has secured a string of progressive endorsements recently.
She was endorsed by SEIU Local 888, which represents more than 8,500 public service workers, 2,000 of whom work and live in the city; 32BJ SEIU, which represents janitors, security officers, and custodial workers; and UNITE HERE Local 26, which represents hotel workers.
Danny McDonald of the Globe staff contributed to this report.