Boston Mayor Michelle Wu proudly shared a photo of the controversial “electeds of color” holiday party she hosted on Wednesday, showcasing all the smiling government officials of minority backgrounds at the “no whites” gathering.
“Last night was my turn to host the annual holiday dinner for Boston’s elected officials of color—a special moment to appreciate that our affinity group now includes leadership across city, state, county, and federal offices,” Wu wrote in a caption alongside the photo on Instagram.
Wu, 38, came under fire earlier this week when her director of City Council Relations Denise DosSantos emailed the party’s exclusive invitation to all members of the City Council instead of only the “electeds of color.”
Boston’s City Council is comprised of six minority and seven white members, who were not the intended targets of the email.
The aide realized her mistake approximately fifteen minutes after the message and sent a follow-up email to the white council members who received the invitation by mistake.
“I wanted to apologize for my previous email regarding a Holiday Party for tomorrow,” DosSantos wrote in her follow-up. “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.”
Wu claimed the group of “electeds of colors” has grown since she first began her public service when she was elected to the City Council in 2014.
“Not too long ago in Boston, we didn’t need such a big table to fit electeds of color. But over my time as a City Councilor and now Mayor, following so many leaders who have paved the way, I’ve proudly watched this group grow and create space for mentorship and fellowship among many who are breaking down barriers while holding the weight of being the first or only,” she said.
Hours before hosting the gathering at the city’s official reception hall, the Parkman House, Wu stood outside and defended her choice to host the party, claiming it had become a yearly tradition over the last decade.
“I’ve been a part of a group that gathers, representing elected officials of color across all different levels of government in Massachusetts,” Wu said, according to WCVB. “A group that has been in place for more than a decade, and the opportunity to create a space for people to celebrate and rotate who hosts.”
“I think we’ve all been in a position at one point where an email went out, and there was a mistake in the recipient,” she added.
The mayor also stressed there would be other holiday parties where city officials of all races would gather together.
One of the councilors who was uninvited didn’t seem to mind the awkward emails, saying he doesn’t easily offend.
“I don’t really get offended too easily,” Baker, a white Democrat, told the Boston Herald. “To offend me, you’re going to have to do much more than not invite me to a party.”
“I find it unfortunate that with the temperature the way it is, that we would further that division,” he added.