Last week Get Konnected!, a local business networking organization, released its first ever list of Boston’s Most Impactful Black Women, and District 1 City Councilor Lydia Edwards was on the list.
Get Konnected! CEO Colette Phillips said the honors included two subgroups, the 25 Most Impactful Black Women in Health Care and Sciences, as well as the 25 Most Impactful Black Women Pioneers.
Edwards joined a distinguished list of female Black leaders that included City Councilor Andrea Campbell, WBUR’s Paris Alston, and Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius.
“Black women rule right now,” said Phillips. “These women have forged trails as powerful and impactful as early Boston activists from abolitionist Elizabeth Riley to civil-rights leader and icon Melnea Cass.” It’s part of the mission at Get Konnected! to showcase the contributions of people of color in the state, and the list is a logical next step to promote those achievements. To see the full list, take a look at the video below.
Edwards, who was elected as District 1’s first African American woman to serve the district, which includes East Boston, Charlestown and the North End, said that she was honored by being included on the impressive list.
“Obviously, I am humbled because I assumed I would need to be a little bit more older and have some more victories under my belt,” said Edwards. “I just felt very much congratulated that people feel like I’m doing a good job and that makes me feel wonderful.”
Being part of a really impressive group of women, Edwards said that she was honored just to be nominated.
“To be in that group was really the honor because many of these women included busted down doors and barriers,” said Edwards. “This list has a lot of incredible women who have done some incredible so I took the nomination as an incredible compliment and now being listed among them is amazing.”
Edwards said the honor has inspired her to keep going, keep fighting, keep thinking and keep challenging.
“I hope I’m making a difference but sometimes you don’t see that,” said Edwards. “When you’re in the middle of some many different things sometimes you don’t know your true impact but I hope I’m making people’s lives better.”
Edwards’s work on ensuring equitable development at Suffolk Downs, increasing community affordability through proposed development projects and her initiatives to overhaul the ZBA and address housing issues and displacement has made her a champion of her working-class constituents.
“I think those are the little victories sometimes but I don’t forget that a lot of these decisions are permanent and impacting our community,” said Edwards. “I’m hopeful people understand how hard I work to get to those decisions. I’m just so honored to represent my community and I’m so grateful, especially to East Boston residents who put me on the map and I hope to continue to make my entire District proud.”
Edwards has spent her entire career as an advocate, activist, and as a voice on behalf of society’s most vulnerable. She served as the deputy director within the Mayor’s Office of Housing Stability where she was responsible for developing and delivering innovative solutions to fight displacement and brought together all stakeholders: landlords, management companies, housing authorities, and tenants.
Before becoming elected Edwards worked as a public interest attorney with Greater Boston Legal Services focusing on labor issues such as fighting for access to unemployment insurance, back wages, fair treatment for domestic workers, and combating human trafficking. She served as the statewide campaign coordinator for the Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers, which advocated for the passage of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. In 2015, she was named Bostonian of the Year by the Boston Globe.