Prior to the weekly Boston City Council meeting last Wednesday, District 1 City Councilor Gabriela “Gigi” Coletta was officially sworn in by Mayor Michelle Wu as her mother, Nina, father, Ed, grandmother, Helen, partner, Sebastian Zapata, and her sister, Angela Acevedo looked on.
After taking the oath of office and before the scheduled council meeting began, Coletta addressed the body for the first time as the District 1 City Councilor representing East Boston, the North End and Charlestown.
“I just want to say thank you, Mayor Wu, distinguished guests, and my colleagues on the council and everyone for being here to share this incredible day with me,” said Coletta. “As a former City Council staffer, I have a unique appreciation and reverence for these chambers. From being an Eastie kid coming in here with my mom to advocate for our community to my first day here as a staffer, I stand before you now deeply honored and humbled to be the Boston City Councilor for District 1. I’m in full acknowledgement and awareness of who and what it took to bring us here together today. So at this moment, I want to share this space in gratitude with you all.”
Coletta recognized some special people in her life that were present in the City Council Chambers.
“First I want to recognize the matriarch of my family, Helen Colletta, I’m so happy you could be here today Grandma,” she said. “I’d also like to recognize my (late) grandparents who are here watching over us, the late Edmund Colletta Sr., the late Allesandro Geata, and the late Celia Trujillo–please watch over me and guide me on this journey. Next, my parents Edmund Coletta and Nina Coletta. Dad, thank you for instilling the values of kindness, humility and service to the community. Thank you, Mom. Thank you for my activist spirit and how to not only break the ceiling, but how to swing the hammer. Thank you to my sister and hype woman, Angela Coletta Acevedo, my brother and political strategist, Chris, and my incredible partner Sebastian Zapata. I could not have done this without you.”
Coletta then thanked the elected officials for their support and encouragement as well as those who have inspired her throughout her journey.
“Mayor Wu, thank you for already pushing us to aim higher and to be bold,” said Coletta. “You’re already making history and I look forward to working with you. (Former District 1 City Councilor) Diane Modica, I’m here because you did everything first so I stand on your shoulders. I also want to thank Sal LaMattina, Paul Scapicchio, as well as the state delegation, Chairman Aaron Michlewtiz, Rep. Dan Ryan and Rep. Adrian Madaro. I’m so happy to do this work with you.”
Coletta then thanked her former boss and mentor, Sen. Lydia Edwards.
“I told you to the moon and back, always,” she said of Ewards. “Thank you for teaching me to shine my brightest light.”
Of the City Council Coletta added, “To my colleagues on the Boston City Council, what an impressive group of powerhouse individuals. I look out at all of you and I realized that this is Boston and I’m happy to be here. I’m just in awe of every single one of you and what you’ve accomplished as a body this year. We are here because we believe in the power of municipal government and how it can better the lives of residents. We are here to ensure a vibrant, resilient, and equitable city for everybody. We are here to bring the voices of those in our communities to the halls of power. I look forward to learning from each and every single one of you and what your life perspective is and ensuring that we can build a brighter Boston for everyone.”
With last Wednesday being her first day on the job, Coletta commented that, “The work literally starts today. I know that we will not agree on everything and there will be some tough conversations ahead of us but I promise to be collaborative, to work towards consensus and compromise and to let the work be the motivation and not the politics.”
“I want to be sure to recognize the district that raised me, gave me everything and elected me to represent them on the Boston City Council,” she said. “To the people of Charlestown East Boston and the North End, I love you. You have my heart always. Each (neighborhood) is uniquely beautiful and each has its own set of challenges but I know looking at this room and those in the community, there’s nothing too big for us to tackle together.”
Colletta pledged to her constituents that she is committed to being bold, to speak truth to power, to fight for the District’s interests, to be inclusive and welcoming of all people no matter who they are or where they come from.
“Especially our immigrant brothers and sisters I promise to be accessible and responsive and you have my commitment that I will center your voice in every conversation in action,” she said. “I promise to serve with empathy and with compassion. I won’t be perfect but I ask for your grace and for your partnership in this work, to learn, grow and mobilize with me. The work starts today and I cannot wait to get started.”