Michelle Wu

Boston City Councilor At-Large

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HOW DID YOU CHOOSE A PATHWAY IN PUBLIC SERVICE?

I grew up never expecting to be involved in government or politics, much less running for office. But after I graduated from college, my mother began struggling with mental health challenges, and over the next few months of stabilizing her and taking over care for my sisters, I realized just how much government impacts lives. I attended law school and interned in Boston’s City Hall, where I saw firsthand that local government can be innovative and effective when connected to the needs of residents. And then I worked on the US Senate campaign of my former law professor, Elizabeth Warren, where I understood the power of politics to draw new voices into policy and community. In 2013, I ran for and was elected to serve as the first AAPI woman on the Boston City Council.

WHO INSPIRES YOU AND WHY?

My mother has been an example of strength and resilience for my whole life. As an immigrant from Taiwan, she sacrificed a great deal to build a life of opportunity for her kids. Even in the face of her own challenges, she has remained a moral beacon and compassionate anchor for our family. I see her strength reflected in so many of my constituents, who fight through barriers to support their families and give back to their communities. My work is grounded in their determination and creativity, and I know that we will continue making progress if policy is driven by those living the struggles.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR AAPI GIRLS AND WOMEN WHO WANT TO PURSUE A CAREER IN PUBLIC SERVICE?

Focus on the difference you’d like to make, not the position you might achieve. Realize how much your community needs your leadership as soon as you’re ready to offer it. And don’t be afraid to embrace life’s challenges openly and honestly. Society makes it hard for women and especially women of color to balance everything, but as more of us step into leadership as examples of how messy and difficult it can be, we will drive the momentum to change policy and change lives. Run for office!