Ruthzee Louijeune, Haitian American, Boston Council

Boston’s New Haitian-American Council President Makes History

Ruthzee Louijeune, a daughter of Haitian immigrants, has been elected as the new Boston City Council president.

Newly elected Boston City Council President Ruthzee Louijeune is focused on incorporating her vision of equity and inclusion into her role.

Louijeune was elected as president on Haitian Independence Day. According to NBC News, Councilor Gabriela Coletta revealed that Louijeune is the first Haitian-American to serve on the city’s council. As a daughter of Haitian immigrants, the new elect overcame hurdles to achieve success as an attorney and policy expert. She now plans to draw on her experiences and diverse background to champion historic change.

“I believe in all of us, and I believe in Boston,” the Harvard Law School graduate said following her election. “One thing to know about me is that I unequivocally reject any zero-sum mentality that suggests that for one group to succeed, another must lose,” Louijeune said at the election.  

Inspired by her parents’ sacrifices and ability to come “to this country from Haiti – poor, Black, not speaking the language, and sacrific[ing] so much,” Louijeune is focused on breaking down systemic barriers across the city which ranges from addressing housing discrimination to tackling economic inequality. As she commits to her new role, she plans to increase affordable housing options, provide Bostonians with access to city contracts and liquor licenses, improve trash collection, and protect workers’ rights. Louijeune addressed the influx of Haitian immigrants in Boston and how the area has the third-largest Haitian population in the country. She also praised Haiti as “the first free Black Republic in the Western Hemisphere.”

Highlighting Boston’s strength, she recognized its neighborhoods’ successful universities, hospitals, life sciences sector, and diversity. However, she addressed the disparities that overshadow Boston’s promising future. She said that inequality in education, housing, health, and wealth creates the notion that there are “two different Bostons,” she said.

Boston’s new council president has an extensive resume that includes graduating from Columbia University, serving as senior counsel for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 presidential campaign, and her previous work as a lawyer at Perkins Coie LLP. She has also launched her own legal business, The Opening PLLC.

Louijeune succeeds Council Ed Flynn, who occupied the role before her. Flynn nominated Julia Mejia for the role of president. However, she declined the nomination.

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