Danielle Allen, a Harvard University professor, will launch a campaign on Tuesday to become governor of Massachusetts.
“We are the first state to have abolished enslavement, and we should have gotten to a place where leadership is truly open to everybody a heck of a lot faster,” Allen said in an interview with The Boston Globe. “I’ve been given the opportunity to stand on a strong foundation of social infrastructure and to thrive. And that has equipped me to do this. So I feel an obligation to show that it is possible for every young woman of color out there.”
The professor is a MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient and the head of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. The MacArthur Fellowship is a five-year grant for creative individuals. Winners are nominated.
“Having a Black woman mayor, having multiple women of color in contention for the mayoral race, and now having the first woman to declare for governor… really says something about where we are as a state,” Amanda Hunter, executive director of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, said.
Allen has no experience as an elected official but believes that government must serve all people.
“Every sector of our economy requires leadership,” Allen said. “Sometimes, we think that corporations are the only places that generate leaders. This is not true. Leadership emerges everywhere.”
Allen says that “a lot of people have been left out of our prosperity” under governor Charlie Baker’s leadership.
“It’s been going on for a long time, and it’s gotten worse. We need to raise our expectations,” Allen said. “The popularity ratings are a sign of having to settle for something that’s not good enough.”
Governor Baker has not announced if he will seek a third term.
If Allen wins, she will be the state’s first black woman and first woman governor.
Kim Janey became Boston’s first Black woman mayor in March when Marty Walsh stepped down to become President Biden’s Labor Secretary.