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Why Boston’s Black Leaders are Fed Up with Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (left) said she “would want no other person leading Boston” than Martin Walsh (right). (Photo by Pat Greenhouse/Boston Globe)

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren endorsed Mayor Martin J. Walsh over the weekend in a move Boston’s Black leaders are calling a snub to nonwhite communities.

During a rally event at Doyle’s Cafe in Jamaica Plain on Sunday, Oct. 15, Warren formally backed incumbent Walsh in his run for a second term against city councilor Tito Jackson, reported. Her endorsement comes less than a month before local voters head to the polls on Nov. 7.

“Marty and I have always had each other’s back because we stand side-by-side on basic core values — the basic values that matter to Bostonians, no matter where you are from, no matter what your background is, no matter who you love,” Warren said in a statement. “… I would want no other person leading the charge in Boston.”

Some Black community leaders were irked by Warren’s actions, however, and argued it would’ve been wiser for the senator to stay out of the mayoral race altogether instead of endorsing a candidate who is already slated to win. Warren throwing her support behind Walsh also came as a surprise to some, seeing as his challenger, Jackson, had previously campaigned for her during her 2012 senate run, according to the Boston Herald.

“This is one she probably could have sat out,” Larry Ellison, president of the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers, told the news site. “I don’t think [Walsh] needed her help in this race. I’ve been getting a lot of calls from people in the communities of color and they haven’t been really happy about it.”

Other local Black leaders like Darnell Williams of the Roxbury-based Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts and Priscilla Flint Banks of Dorchester’s Black Economic Justice Institute agreed, saying Warren should have taken the “high road” and stayed neutral rather than insert herself in the race between the two Democrats.

“I’m very disappointed in her,” Banks said. “As far as I’m concerned, she’s just like the rest of them — the ones who say they’re going to do so much for our community and don’t.”

For Horace Small of the Union of Minority Neighborhoods in Jamaica Plain, it made sense that the senator would back Walsh because it’d help her land the labor vote and support from other constituent groups needed to win her 2018 bid for re-election.

Speaking with the Boston Herald, councilor Jackson said he respects Warren and the work she does but doesn’t agree with her stance in the mayoral race.

“My issue is not about elected officials who already have a job,” he added. “I want to deal with the 10 percent unemployment rate in Mattapan. I want to deal with the fact that it is $2,100 for a one-bedroom apartment in the city of Boston.”

Warren told reporters Sunday that she loves and supports Jackson but said she feels Walsh would make more of an impact.

“Marty has shown us for four years what it is that he can accomplish, and what it is going forward that he is determined to accomplish,” she said. “So, I’m here with Marty.”

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