Boston mayor says ‘political motive’ drove ‘electeds of color’ holiday party leak, coverage


Boston Mayor Michelle Wu blamed political motivations for the uproar in reaction to her “Electeds of Color” party invite, during remarks made in an interview Monday. (Stuart Cahill, Boston Herald, file)

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu continued to defend her decision to hold an exclusive “Electeds of Color” holiday party, saying that the way the invite was “leaked” and coverage by the national media was politically motivated.

The local political landscape is well aware of the “Electeds of Color” group, said the mayor, who went on to suggest that some of the backlash against last week’s party may have been driven by the “shock” some people are experiencing over what leadership looks like in the City of Boston.

“We did not have enough elected officials of color in previous administrations dating way back to even think about hosting something like this,” Wu said Monday on WBUR’s Radio Boston. “This is the first time the mayor is able to host as a member of this group, because prior to me, all the elected mayors were not part of this group.

“So I think there’s maybe a shock that that presents to some people, of what does leadership look like?” Wu added. “But this is our city. This is reflective of our community.”

The party, first reported by the Herald, caught international attention after a Wu administration official, on behalf of the mayor, mistakenly sent all Boston city councilors an email last Tuesday inviting them to a holiday party that was meant exclusively for “electeds of color,” prompting an apology and mixed reactions.

Fifteen minutes after the mayor’s director of City Council relations sent out the email, inviting each councilor and a guest to a holiday party at the city-owned Parkman House, the employee sent a follow-up email to councilors, apologizing for the prior email, which was apparently only meant for those who were invited.

The party was quickly criticized by some for being “divisive,” while others, including the mayor, defended the event for creating space for specific groups in city government.

“I think the email situation is maybe what got it on the national radar when it was leaked by someone who wasn’t invited because they weren’t part of this group,” Wu said on Monday. “But this is a well-established group that’s been around for a long time.

“I think everyone knows about it locally in office and knows that we have celebrations, and there’s a little bit of a political motive in terms of leaking it, and then following through on the national scale.”

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