By WGBH News
Nov. 9, 2011
BOSTON — After the votes were tallied in Tuesday's municipal elections, there was a big surprise in the Boston City Council race. Conventional wisdom said incumbent Ayanna Pressley wouldn’t make it. Instead, she topped the ticket. Pressley will now be the only woman of color — and the only woman — on the council.
Marvin Venay, the executive director of the Mass. Black and Latino Legislative Caucus, said on “The Callie Crossley Show” that Pressley’s strong showing was a “game-changer.”
“It really showed that the people, when they surround you, and they support you, they will come out for you. We looked at the numbers throughout the day. There was a concern that communities of color weren’t coming out and there was a concern that there was a possibility that the votes were dwindling in some areas. But lo and behold… all the pre-written articles had to be changed,” Venay said.
“The exact vulnerabilities that they said she had in fact were her strengths," said Kelly Bates, executive director of the Access Strategies Fund. "She showed the city, and the city has changed, that you can elect somebody if they are impressive, if they are qualified and they are a black woman.”
Venay thought the election results offered a moment of clarity for Boston's communities of color.
“Minorities now have an opportunity to reclaim the voice that they've had. And they have to realize now — or I should say we have to start realizing now — that we have more power than we prescribe that we do,” he said. “This is the opportunity where you can really make a difference.”
He hoped city and state candidates would recognize the change and engage with Boston's minority communities ahead of the 2012 general election.
CALLIE CROSSLEY SHOW: PRESSLEY IN THE STUDIO