City Councilor Ayanna Pressley said her goodbyes at the Boston City Council meeting on Wednesday afternoon.
Pressley is getting ready to leave the council for Congress in January. She has been on the Boston City Council for 8 years, serving with 25 councilors and under two mayors.
Pressley made national news in the September primary elections when she defeated 20-year incumbent Mike Capuano in the 7th District. Althea Garrison will take her place on the council when Pressley leaves for Congress.
“I am so honored to have this opportunity to do this work,” said Pressley.
Mayor Marty Walsh said the rest of the council should be proud of Pressley and what she has accomplished so far.
“She is going to represent this body in the U.S. Congress. You should all be so proud. I know I am.” – Mayor Walsh
Ayanna Pressley said she became a councilor because she wanted to fight for the rights of young girls in the city who she saw struggling with various issues.
“I wanted to fight for girls, not be their voice, but lift up their voice. People said it sounded like a mission statement and belonged at a nonprofit. We proved them wrong,” she said.
Pressley became the first woman of color on the Boston City Council, and now she is the first African American woman elected to represent Massachusetts in Congress. According to Pressley, having a diverse government only strengthens the country.
“Representative government only works when everyone is represented,” she added.
Pressley thanked her friends and family for their support, especially her mother who passed away from leukemia. “I hope each day I put out the best parts of my mother,” she said. “May she rest in power.”
Her colleagues had nothing but glowing things to say about the soon to be Congresswoman.
“It’s rare to work with someone to know they are living, breathing and setting legacy,” said Councilor Lydia Edwards. “You are setting a legacy right now. For me, you are the great destroyer of glass ceilings.”
Edwards said she connected with Pressley in many ways, but one of the big ways they connected is they believe “firmly in the language of the heart.”
“The language of the heart is the reason why you won,” she said. “You connected us through the heart.”
Councilor Josh Zakim said Pressley impressed him while she was on the campaign trail and sometimes had to deal with naysayers and people who were against her.
“You were always so gracious,” he said.
Also at the meeting, the Council passed a resolution presented by Zakim on supporting refugees traveling to the United States.
Councilor Zakim said the recent news of how the Trump administration is handling refugees at the border made him sick. “This is un-American when it comes down to it,” he said.
Zakim admits he doesn’t think President Trump will care about the council’s resolution, but he believes it is important to stand up for refugees.
“We cannot sit silently,” he said.
Councilor Edwards agreed with him. “Fighting for immigrants and refugees makes us more American,” she said.