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Democrat Boston mayor invokes SLAVERY to oppose ‘vaccine passports’

Democrat Boston mayor invokes SLAVERY to oppose ‘vaccine passports’
Democrat Boston Mayor Kim Janey has broken with many in her party by blasting vaccine mandates, including those introduced this week in New York City by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

During an interview with local news station NewsCenter 5, the mayor was asked about the recent announcement that proof of vaccination would be required in New York City in places such as gyms and bars. Janey compared the requirement to show proof of vaccination to slavery, the Jim Crow era, and even the birtherism movement. 

“There's a long history in this country of people needing to show their papers,” she said. “During slavery, post-slavery, as recent as you know what immigrant population has to go through here. We heard Trump with the birth certificate nonsense. Here we want to make sure that we are not doing anything that would further create a barrier for residents of Boston or disproportionately impact [black, indigenous or people of color] communities.”

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Janey also touched on another criticism that has been used by others to blast Mayor de Blasio’s vaccine mandate: Enforcement.

“When it comes to what businesses may choose to do, we know that those types of things are difficult to enforce when it comes to the vaccine,” she said, adding that people need “every opportunity” to get vaccinated.

Janey has already found herself at the center of controversy from fellow Democrats, though other activists have responded similarly to de Blasio’s mandate, arguing it negatively impacts minorities – something Democrats typically use as an argument against voter ID requirements.

“This kind of rhetoric is dangerous. Showing proof of vaccination is not slavery or birtherism. We are too close to give ground to COVID. Science is science. It's pretty simple – Vax up and mask up,” Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell tweeted in response to Janey.

City Councilor Michelle Wu similarly said, according to NewsCenter 5, that Janey should be using her position as mayor to “build trust in vaccines.”

In a later statement responding to criticism over her comments, Janey said Boston’s focus will remain on promoting vaccines to the public, adding that mandates could negatively affect people of color the most. 

“These hurdles should not be excuses, but we must consider our shared history as we work to ensure an equitable public health and economic recovery,” she tweeted.

Janey is not entirely against vaccine mandates, as she said last month that she was open to requiring Boston city employees to get inoculated. 

“We are strongly encouraging and working with our workforce to get everyone vaccinated,” she said. “If it takes a mandate to get us there, that is what we will do.”

The Democrat took the position of mayor after former Mayor Marty Walsh stepped down to join the Biden administration as secretary of labor. She announced in April that she will be running for a full term. 

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