Boston’s youth are getting a chance to ask the future mayor of Boston questions.
Today, June 7, at 4 p.m., Acting Mayor Kim Janey, Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu, Councilor Andrea Campbell, Councilor Annissa Essaibi George, State Rep. Jon Santiago, and John Barros, former chief of economic development for the city of Boston, will answer questions posed by students across the city.
This mayoral forum, hosted by the Boston Globe and the Boston Debate League, will feature questions submitted by high school and middle school students in Boston. It will be moderated by Kelin Funes and Xyra Mercer, both student members of the Boston Debate League.
“We thought this would be a really good opportunity considering the historic nature of this race,” said Jackney Joseph, Director of External Affairs for the Boston Debate League.
The upcoming election in the fall could see the first non-white and/or female mayor elected in Boston’s history. Janey recently became the first black women to hold the position of Mayor of Boston after the departure of Marty Walsh to become Labor Secretary in the Biden Administration.
“Whoever’s leading over the next four years is going to be impacting the lives of young people,” Joseph said. “They definitely should have a say and hear from these leaders about what they want to do.”
The Boston Debate League is a non-profit organization that works with Boston Public schools to support debate teams in high schools and middle schools across the city. It also trains teachers to bring policy debate into the classroom. However, Joseph said the core of its mission is about engaging young people and helping them realize the power of their voice.
“Even though many of them can't vote, I think they do recognize the importance and I do think that there's been a wave of awareness among young people about the impact of elections, both nationally and locally,” she said.
This will not be the first unusual set up for this kind of an event. Last week, in a forum moderated by Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins, the candidates took questions from people who are currently incarcerated. In this first in-person mayoral debate, the candidates spoke about criminal justice policies in front of an audience of incarcerated individuals.
The race for mayor of Boston is approaching its final stages with a preliminary election set to take place on Sept. 14 and the general election on Nov. 2. According to a recent WBUR poll, Wu and Janey remain in the lead with more than half of Boston voters undecided.