Boston mayor Kim Janey (D) said Tuesday that the idea of requiring citizens to show vaccine passports to enter businesses is reminiscent of troubling periods in U.S. history when asking to see papers was common practice.
When asked by a Boston television reporter about New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to require vaccine passports, Janey wouldn’t go as far as saying she would do the same, but she did encourage people to get vaccinated.
“There’s a long history in this country of people needing to show their papers,” Janey told WCVB. “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 disproportionally impact BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) communities.”
“Instead, you want to lean in heavily with partnering with community organizations, making sure that everyone has access to the lifesaving vaccine. As it relates to people who want to encourage their workforce to get vaccinated, we certainly support that.”
At an event later in the day, Janey was asked again about her reference to slavery and vaccine passports, but she didn’t budge. “There is a long history of asking people to show their papers,” she said, according to the Boston Herald.
And as expected, Mayor Janey, who took office in March when former Boston mayor Marty Walsh was appointed labor secretary by President Biden, was quickly crushed for not falling in line on vaccine passports.
“When we are combating a deadly virus & vaccine hesitancy in some communities, this kind of rhetoric is dangerous,” City Councilor Andrea Campbell tweeted. “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.”
Earlier today, I pointed out several hurdles facing communities of color with lower vaccination rates. 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.
— Kim Janey (@MayorKimJaney) August 3, 2021