Boston Mayor: Vaccine Passport Is Like ‘Show Their Papers’ ‘During Slavery, Post-Slavery,’ and for Immigrants

By Ashlianna Kreiner | August 10, 2021 | 11:30am EDT
Kim Janey, may of Boston, Mass.   (Getty Images)
Kim Janey, may of Boston, Mass. (Getty Images)

When asked about businesses maybe requiring proof of COVID vaccination from customers, Boston Mayor Kim Janey (D) said she wants to provide every opportunity for people to get the vaccine, but said businesses trying to mandate it is problematic because “there's a long history in this country of people needing to show their papers,” especially during “slavery” and the “post-slavery” period.

"There's a long history in this country of people needing to show their papers," said Janey on Aug. 3, as reported by WCVB ABC’s 5 NewsCenter. "During slavery, post-slavery, as recent as, you know, what [the] immigrant population has to go through here.”

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“We heard Trump with the birth certificate nonsense,” said Janey, Boston’s first black female mayor. “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."

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), as of Aug. 4, “70% of the adult population in the United States have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.”

However, “while White adults account for the largest share (57%) of unvaccinated adults, Black and Hispanic people remain less likely than their White counterparts to have received a vaccine, leaving them at increased risk, particularly as the variant spreads,” said the KFF.


In other comments, Mayor Janey said, “"We want to make sure that we are giving every opportunity for folks to get vaccinated. 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 vaccine."

We “want to lean in heavily with partnering with community organizations, making sure that everyone has access to the lifesaving vaccine,” said Janey. “As it relates to people who want to encourage their workforce to get vaccinated. We certainly support that.”

Janey, 56, is the mother of one daughter, Kimesha, who is the mother to Janey’s three grandchildren. Janey was educated at Smith College. In 2015, Janey received the Boston NAACP Difference Maker Award.

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