‘It’s not going to intimidate or stop me’: Michelle Wu responds to continued protests by ‘same individuals’

“I’ve experienced this throughout my entire career.”

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu takes a question after moving her press conference from Clifford Park to a nearby city building in Boston on Oct. 20. Craig F. Walker / The Boston Globe

Mayor Michelle Wu on Monday addressed the continued protests and disruptions by demonstrators she’s been subjected to outside her home and at many public events since taking office

Last week, Wu shut down a press conference she was holding in Clifford Park to give an update on the city’s ongoing efforts to address the humanitarian crisis at Mass. and Cass after protesters interrupted, chanting “Shame on Wu.” The briefing was eventually moved indoors. 

At the time, City Hall officials told The Boston Globe they recognized several individuals among the demonstrators as anti-vaccine protesters who have frequently showed up at the mayor’s events to demonstrate against Boston’s COVID-19 policies. 


During Wu’s monthly appearance Monday on WBUR’s “Radio Boston,” host Tiziana Dearing asked the mayor about the Mass. and Cass event and why she thinks she is still being targeted by protesters. 

“It is in fact some of the same individuals who have been disrupting meetings all across the state, who have been arrested at City Hall, at the State House, who were part of what happened at Clifford Park,” Wu said. “There is plenty of passion and emotion and frustration in the community, and our goal is to not run away from that — and engage, to lean in, share information, be completely honest about where we are still not serving our residents and have a lot more work to do and to be able to lay all that out on the table.”

The mayor said if it had only been activists and community members who have been vocal about drawing attention to the issues around Mass. and Cass, she would have continued the press conference.  

“But there were some other individuals there who were outside my house every morning for four months who aren’t necessarily tied to a specific issue but find ways to I think just disrupt and prevent that direct connection with residents,” Wu said. “So this is how politics is in 2022, unfortunately, all across the country.”


Dearing questioned whether it is just “how politics is,” asking Wu if she were a white man, like former mayor Marty Walsh, whether she thought she would still be subject to the ongoing demonstrations. 

Wu said she’s heard from “observers from all angles” on the issue, including Boston police officers and residents who have worked in other administrations.

“There is of course an element of, I believe, people seeing someone who is a woman of color, relatively new to this job, and seeing someone who can be bullied,” she said. “I’ve experienced this throughout my entire career. It’s certainly come to a fever pitch as national politics has cleared the way for abuse and harassment to become normalized in how we interact with each other. I am determined that that will not be what we accept as normal in Boston. And there are still, some of these folks are still on our public payrolls, right, serving as a police officer.” 

The mayor said it is “saddening.” 

But she said her administration is working to plan ahead for situations like the one at Clifford Park. 


“It’s not going to intimidate or stop me from continuing to come out in the community, to share information and engage and really show that we cannot run away from treating each other with respect and try to come to a common understanding,” Wu said. “That is the only way we move forward on our challenges.”

Asked by the “Radio Boston” host about the impact on her children, Wu said she does a lot of explaining on the issue of bullying with her sons, aged 5 and 7, through books. 

“We talk about the concept of people’s buckets not being full and therefore wanting to empty other people’s buckets, and we talk about what bullying means and what it means to do what you think is right,” Wu said. “It’s pretty sad lessons that we’re having to go over at such a young age, but it’s nothing new for many, many families who are facing similar situations in terms of just the stress that is coming from all that people have gone through in the pandemic.”