Boston City Councilor Julia Mejia addresses attacks about drug use, body-shaming
“This is what white supremacists do. They tell lies and hope that you will believe them,” she said.
Boston City Councilor-at-Large Julia Mejia addressed accusations that she is addicted to drugs and attacks against her looks in a YouTube video Monday.
In the video, entitled ‘Women of color in elected office are always under attack,” Mejia says people on social media have been attributing changes in her appearance to drug use, but the changes are actually related to her ongoing health issues.
The 52-year-old councilor begins by referencing comments that accuse her of being a cocaine addict and point out “bags under her eyes that weren’t there” before she became a city councilor.
“Folks on Twitter are utilizing this platform to body-shame me. To make it seem as though my health issues are related to the use of drugs,” she says. “For those who are wondering if I am using drugs, the answer is absolutely not.”
Mejia goes on to explain that in 2018, the year before she was first elected to Boston City Council, she underwent gastric bypass surgery to address her diabetes and high blood pressure.
“I lost almost half of my body, but I reclaimed my health,” she says.
Mejia continues, saying that receiving such comments is “par for the course” of being an elected official, so she isn’t making the video for herself.
Instead, she says, she wonders how people who are struggling with substance abuse disorders, or others who are seeing dramatic changes in their body due to gastric bypass surgery, feel about the way their bodies are commented on.
Mejia, Boston’s first afro-Latina city councilor, has come to be known as a staunch progressive unafraid of potential controversy, proposing initiatives such as getting rid of the City’s gang database and studying how the City might institute reparations for systemic racism.
“I don’t even smoke pot. But yet this is what white supremacists do. They tell lies and hope that you will believe them,” she says in the video.
Mejia closes by saying she hopes that the treatment she’s received is solely due to racism and her status as an elected official, and wouldn’t happen to people actually struggling with addiction.
“For those who are experiencing issues of addiction, it is my hope that people will be kind and compassionate. I hope that if I was truly struggling with an addiction, that people would not attack me for it,” she says.
Watch the full video here:
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