Dominicana Julia Mejia Becomes the First Afro-Latina Immigrant on Boston’s City Council

Lead Photo: Boston skyline from waterfront. Photo by Tomasz Szulczewski/Getty Images
Boston skyline from waterfront. Photo by Tomasz Szulczewski/Getty Images
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On Tuesday, Julia Mejia became the first Afro-Latina immigrant elected to Boston’s city council — helping to make it the first majority-women and majority-people of color council in the city’s history.

The Dominican-American Democrat defeated fellow Latina candidate Alejandra St. Guillen by just 10 votes. St. Guillen has requested a recount.

Still, Mejia, a political newcomer and long-time community organizer, is celebrating the victory.

“I am humbled to be your first Afro-Latina immigrant woman councilwoman. This campaign was never about me, though. It was always about bringing power to the people, to give voices to those who felt left out. It’s time, and our work starts tomorrow,” she tweeted.

With Mejia’s win, local radio station 90.9 wbur reports that seven of the 13 councilors will now be people of color, while eight of them will be women. Just a decade ago, in 2009, now Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) became the first Black woman elected to the council, then just one of two women. The congresswoman, who last year became the first Black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts, endorsed Mejia during the race.

Mejia, a single mom who was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston when she was 5 years old, ran on a progressive platform that includes tackling housing, education, immigration, poverty, public safety, government accountability and marijuana equity.

“We won because communities across Boston demonstrated their power at the ballot and showed that they will no longer be ignored. I am confident that no matter the outcome, today all of Boston won,” she said.