Minority Women Are a Few Rungs Up On Boston’s Political Ladder

Especially when compared with minority men.

Akilah Johnson attended a recent Women’s Pipeline For Change event and wrote up a good article about it, and the Boston Globe slapped it on the front page with the headline “Women of color strive for firmer political foothold.” Which is nice and all, but the truth is that in Boston, minority women are gaining a firmer political foothold than minority men.

Let’s put aside the older guard: the Gloria Fox/Byron Rushing/Charles Yancey crowd, who have gained their foothold and paved the way for others to go further.

Now, it’s true that there are quite a few new generation black and Hispanic men who are holding elected office in Boston: Carlos Henriquez, Russell Holmes, Tito Jackson, and Jeffrey Sanchez, to name a few.

But with Felix Arroyo leaving the council, there will be no minority men elected into citywide or state senate seats in Boston unless Ramon Soto wins one of the four at-large spots. (Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins did not actually win election to that office. He was appointed to it to replace Boston political powerhouse Andrea Cabral.)

By comparison, Sonia Chang-Diaz and Linda Dorcena Forry hold state senate seats; Ayanna Pressley will presumably be re-elected to her at-large council seat after topping the ticket in 2011; and most political observers expect Michelle Wu to join her there.

There’s a good chance Suzanne Lee could win a district seat in her rematch with Bill Linehan. Ava Callendar is considered the most viable minority candidate in one of the open districts (rather than Jean-Claude Sanon), and Gloria Murray is the only minority candidate in the other.

Perhaps more to the point: at least six black or Hispanic women, who currently or previously held elected office, were obviously viable mayoral candidates this year: Cabral, Chang-Diaz, Forry, Pressley, Charlotte Golar Richie, and Marie St. Fleur. All six will be high on any lists of potential candidates for any higher office—congress or statewide—for years to come.

The equivalent list of men would include Arroyo, Jackson, Sanchez, and Tompkins if he wins a full term in 2014.

Which group would you rather have a futures wager on?