No whites allowed at Boston mayor's Christmas party for 'electeds of color' only

"It’s completely natural for elected officials of color to gather for a holiday celebration."

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY
Libs of TikTok posted a shocking email sent by the office of Mayor Michelle Wu to invite officials to the "Electeds of Color Holiday Party." It was sent by Denise DosSantos, the Director of City Council Relations, on behalf of Mayor Wu, and the "email was mistakenly sent to all city councilmembers, including the white ones."

The Boston Herald had the full report, saying that after the gaffe, there was "an apology and mixed reactions." The party was set to take place on Thursday at the Parkman House on Beacon Street in Boston. The email was out for 15 minutes before DosSantos sent out a second email, apologizing for the first, saying that the invitation was only intended for those who were invited—namely, those six councilors "of color," and not the seven white councilors.

DosSantos said "I wanted to apologize for my previous email regarding a Holiday Party for tomorrow. I did send that to everyone by accident, and I apologize if my email may have offended or came across as so. Sorry for any confusion this may have caused."

Despite the apology, "elected of color" councilor Brian Worrell defended the segretated Christmas party that would exclude white people, saying "We make space and spaces for all kinds of specific groups in the city and city government. This is no different, and the Elected Officials of Color has been around for more than a decade."

Others chimed in saying that because DosSantos "meant no ill will" the exclusion of some councilors based solely on their race was acceptable. "Elected of color" Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson also thought it was totally fine to hold a party segregated by race. In her view, there was "no need for apologies at all" and the "email should not offend anyone."

For Anderson, "it’s completely natural for elected officials of color to gather for a holiday celebration" and intentionally exclude their colleagues based on their race alone. The "electeds of color" group contains all councilors who are not white, and not being white, in Anderson's view, is enough. 

"Many groups celebrate and come together in various ways, and it’s not about excluding anyone. Instead, it’s about creating spaces for like-minded individuals to connect and support each other," Anderson said. For Anderson, Wu's decision to segregate councilors based on race is "commendable."

City Council Frank Baker, whose term is coming to an end, saying that the segregated holiday party was "unfortunate and divisive," but made sure to tell the Herald that he wasn't personally offended. "I don't really get offended too easily," he said, noting that not being invited to a party wasn't enough to ruffle his feathers.

Baker also didn't understand why there would be a segregated Christmas party hosted by the mayor's office, calling it not a "good move" especially considering internal issues there have been on the council.

DosSantos claims to be "a passionate advocate for bridging the gap between City Resources and her community." Wu has been an advocate specifically of black elected leaders. Earlier this year, she spoke about how great it was for her to "have the chance to be surrounded by Black excellence, Black joy, Black brilliance, Black persistence, every single day here working for the city of Boston."

Two-thirds of her cabinet are black, including the chief of economic development Segun Idowu, who said "When you look at who makes up the cabinet, there are Black folks running operations, running community engagement, running communications, running the Police Department, running emergency management, running transportation, running the economy, running development."
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