Diversity The Priority For Boston Mayor Kim Janey As Two Latina School Committee Members Resign Over Racist Anti-White Remarks

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2021/06/08/diversity-the-priority-for-boston-mayor-kim-janey-as-two-latina-school-committee-members-resign-over-racist-anti-white-remarks/

Two members of the Boston School Committee made anti-white remarks, got caught, and resigned — and the city’s mayor wants to ensure that people of their race still have representation on the board.

Alexandra Oliver-Davila and Lorna Rivera, both Latinas, recently resigned as members of the school committee in the wake of the publishing of text messages the two sent during a committee hearing October 20, 2020. Also during that meeting, the chairman of the school committee at the time, Michael Loconto, was heard mocking the names of Asian attendees. Loconto resigned as a result of that two days later.

In a statement issued Tuesday, June 8, Boston’s acting mayor, Kim Janey, said that she supports and respects the decisions of Rivera and Oliver-Davila to resign. She called their remarks “unfortunate” and said that they “unfairly disparaged members of the Boston Public Schools community.”

In that same statement, Janey said that maintaining diversity on the school committee is a priority for the city moving forward.

“Equity in Boston Public Schools cannot wait. As Mayor, I am committed to advancing the equity agenda that is now under way,” Janey said. “That includes proceeding with a vote on exam school admissions this summer. I am also committed to preserving Latinx representation on our school committee. I am working to immediately begin the application process for new school committee members to lead the next chapter of equity and opportunity in our schools.”

Unlike in most towns and cities in the state, the school committee is not an elected position in Boston. Rather, the mayor appoints the committee members, meaning Janey gets to pick who replaces Rivera and Oliver-Davila.

The press office for Mayor Janey did not respond to NewBostonPost’s questions asking if preference will go to Latino candidates and if any white people will be considered for the positions.

The text messages that led to both school committee members resigning were made public in an opinion article by a columnist published by The Boston Globe on Monday, June 7. The newspaper published a news story about the text messages late that same night.

The articles appeared 138 days after NewBostonPost put in a public records request to obtain the text messages. Some time after the request, city school officials provided NewBostonPost with some text messages exchanged by the two, but not the anti-white text messages that led to their resignations.

The topic of the meeting last October was removing merit standards from the city’s public exam schools. During it, Rivera corresponded with fellow school committee member Alexandra Oliver-Davila about the meeting in text messages.

“Best school committee meeting ever,” Oliver-Dávila texted Rivera, according to the Globe. “I’m trying not to cry.”

(This came after they listened to testimony from left-wing activist and Boston University professor Ibram X. Kendi)

“Wait until the white racists start yelling at us,” Rivera texted back, according to the Globe.

“Whatever. They’re delusional,” Oliver-Dávila texted.

“I hate WR,” she texted, referring to West Roxbury.

“Sick of Westie whites,” Rivera replied.

“Me too. I really feel like saying that,” Oliver-Dávila texted.

The two now-former school committee members took different tacks in explaining their decision to resign, according to public statements issued by the mayor’s office during the afternoon of Tuesday, June 8.

Oliver-Davila explained that she wrote her comments about West Roxbury — a predominately white, largely Irish neighborhood of the city — “in the heat of the moment as public testimony referenced students from different neighborhoods and students of color taking seats from white students.”

Oliver-Davila apologized for what she said, but also said the testimony she heard that night angered her:


I apologize for my comments and the hurt they have caused. I own what I said just as I own the pain I felt that night and have felt far too often as a woman of color leading an organization committed to racial justice. The commentary of that evening brought me back to the deep shame that I was forced to feel about my language, my culture and my ethnicity. It brought me back to the shame I was made to feel about my mother who had an accent and a grandmother who didn’t speak English. It triggered that old message:  “you don’t belong and you are not good enough.” I regret my personal texts, it was inappropriate, but I am not ashamed of the feelings from history that made me write those words. My lived experience of growing up fearing people from certain neighborhoods, the neighborhood I lived in, is real and is what helped shape who I am today. As part of my commitment to antiracist work, I am looking into my past, into the ideas and experiences that have shaped my worldview, and am working to understand and manage my biases and focus instead on the work at hand. All humans have biases and I will continue to work on getting beyond my own personal biases.


Rivera, a gender studies professor at the UMass Boston, did not issue a comparable public statement. Instead, in a resignation message sent by email, Rivera said she is resigning because of stress from verbal attacks against her by ideological opponents. She did not mention the text messages she sent concerning whites in West Roxbury.

Instead, she said:


In January 2019, I was appointed by former Mayor Marty Walsh to the Boston School Committee. Today, I write to submit my resignation from the Boston School Committee. Since February 2021, I have received racist threatening emails and social media personal attacks from individuals who do not agree with recent policy changes that advance Boston Public Schools racial equity agenda, especially the changes in admissions policies to the exam high schools. Nationally and locally, there are white supremacist groups that are coordinating efforts to ban the teaching of ethnic studies, diversity and inclusion activities, and other racial equity work in our public schools and universities. I am being targeted as a Latina gender studies professor who teaches about racism, patriarchy, and oppression. Because of the harassment and overwhelming stress from School Committee-related work, my mental and physical health has deteriorated, so I need to resign and recuperate. It has been a true honor to work with my fellow SC members and school district staff, and a pleasure to serve our city’s educators and school children.


Rivera resigned late during the night of Thursday, June 3 — before the text messages were made public.


New to NewBostonPost?  Conservative media is hard to find in Massachusetts.  But you’ve found it.  Now dip your toe in the water for two bucks — $2 for two months.  And join the real revolution.