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Council Says Farewell to Juan Lopez

“I love this City,” said Juan Aurelio Lopez, who has spent over four decades servicing the City of Boston. For 46 years, Juan has walked the halls of City Hall with his gracious smile, helping hand, and welcoming attitude. Juan has been more than a city employee.

He has been an inspiration, a mentor, and a “history teacher” to many city workers and residents of Boston. Juan began his career with the City as the City’s first Hispanic Liaison to the Mayor. He served under Mayors White, Flynn, and Menino in various roles, including Field Representative and Service Coordinator for the Jamaica Plain and Mission Hill Little City Hall, and Senior Hearing Officer at the Rent Equity Board.

For over 25 years, Juan has served the City Council in various positions including Liaison to Legislative Committees, Budget Analyst, and as Research and Policy Director.

Juan is also a very active member of community, serving on advisory boards and in leadership roles of civic groups, including for Boston Children’s Hospital, ETHOS Boston Elder Services, Latinos Contra Lupus, Tu Hispanidad/Latino, the League of United Latin American Citizens, and the Boston Commemoration Commission, as well as producing and hosting the television show “Política Entre Amigos” on WCEATV.

After decades of service, Juan is retiring. On Wednesday, February 28, 2024, Juan stood before the City Council, colleagues, family and friends for what would be his last Council meeting as a city employee. He was joined by Mayor Michelle Wu, who gifted him with a Paul Revere bowl and a Boston street sign that read, “Juan Lopez Way.”

Mayor Wu reflected on the time when she first began her career in City Hall, mentioning that Juan was the person who made her feel welcomed in the building. “[He has been] that connector for so many of us who maybe never expected that we could have a future in a space like this where important decisions are being made.” She continued, “Juan has opened the doors for so many. [He has] helped mentor so many of us who are now in our roles only because we felt connected to the education, the sense of belonging, and the community that [he] helped create.”

Council President Louijeune shared similar sentiments saying, “Juan, you were one of the first friendly faces that I saw when I started. You have been a beacon of light for each and everyone of my colleagues. I am grateful that I got to learn from you.”

Councilor Mejia, the first Latina ever elected on the Council, said because of Juan’s knowledge, wisdom and guidance, she learned so much about politics from him. “I appreciate everything that you do – not just for me – but the entire community, particularly Latinos, in making sure that we don’t forget who we are and how we show up in this world.”

Councilor Flynn, who has known Juan for about 40 years, shared stories from the 80s regarding race relations and spoke of the ways in which Juan always tried to bring the City together.

Members of Central Staff, Ron Cobb and Shane Pac, presented Juan with a crystal gavel. “Senor Lopez, this is tough,” said Ron. “It’s been 20 years. We give you this gavel not only for your dedication to the City of Boston, but for your hard work to this institution. We’re going to miss you.”

Shane, who has had the opportunity to share an office with Juan said, “My time with [Juan] has been a Masterclass on City Hall and the City Council. He really made an impact on me and everyone here, but also on hundreds of former staffers and Councilors. You’re really a living legend and we’re going to miss you.”

A resolution offered by Councilors Louijeune, Mejia and Flynn declared February 29th, Juan’s birthday, as "Juan Aurelio Lopez Day" in the City of Boston.

There is no doubt that Juan has made an immeasurable impact on the City of Boston, and those who have had the opportunity to work with him. He will be remembered for his uplifting conversations about life, his knowledge of Boston’s history and his dedication to the City he loves.

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