Democratic Mayor Draws Parallel Between Mandating Vaccine Passports And Slave Times

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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Democratic Boston Mayor Kim Janey drew a parallel between New York City’s new vaccine passport mandate and slave times Tuesday, according to a local report.

When asked whether she would consider implementing a vaccine mandate that requires individuals to show proof of vaccination, Janey said vaccination is important, but treads on running down similar, dark paths previously seen in the country, according to WCVB.

“We want to make sure that we are giving every opportunity for folks to get vaccinated,” she said. “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.”

Janey then compared showing proof of vaccination to the documentation requirement seen during slavery and the Jim Crow era.

“There’s a long history in this country of people needing to show their papers,” she said, according to the report. “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.”

Janey said partnering with community organizations and ensuring everyone has access to the vaccine is more important.

Janey later clarified her remarks.

“Earlier today, I pointed out several hurdles facing communities of color with lower vaccination rates,” Janey tweeted. “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.”

Janey said there are currently no plans for business sector vaccine mandates but the city continues to work with bars and restaurants to fight the virus.

Democratic Councilwoman Andrea J. Campbell called Janey’s “rhetoric” “dangerous” in a tweet.

“When we are combating a deadly virus & vaccine hesitancy, 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.”

City Council President Pro Tempore Matt O’Malley didn’t directly address Janey’s comments but did say the city should be following in New York City’s footsteps. (RELATED: Anti-Vaccine Passport Protests Explode Across France)

“If we want to get serious about addressing vaccine hesitancy, slowing the spread of the Delta (and subsequent) variants, and keeping our families, friends, and neighbors safe, then we need to take bold and effective action. We should be doing this in Boston.”

New York City became the first city in the country to mandate vaccine passports for most indoor activities such as dining and fitness. The mandate will go into effect later this month. The new “Key to NYC Pass” will be required for patrons to show restaurants, bars, gyms and performance venues they were vaccinated.

But data from the city shows Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new vaccine system will disproportionately impact communities of color. The city’s data showed 71% and 46% of Asian and white residents are fully vaccinated, while only 42% of Hispanic New Yorkers and 31% of black New Yorkers are fully vaccinated.