Ferguson Elects Two Black Politicians
Change is afoot in racially torn Ferguson, Missouri. In elections yesterday, two Black politicians were elected to city council, Wesley Bell and Ella Jones.
Prior to this, even though the city is 70 percent Black, it was governed by a board on which five of six members and the mayor were white, reports CNN.
But now the council will be 50 percent Black as Jones won 49.63 percent of the vote. “Thank you, Ward 1. I love you,” said a victorious Jones, who is the first Black woman to sit on the Ferguson council. Jones is a former Mary Kay cosmetics sales director.
“My job is to be that catalyst so we can put a new face on Ferguson,” she said.
Meanwhile, Bell won the Ward 3 seat pulling in almost 67 percent of the vote.
This election was significant, being the first city election since white police Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown in 2014. “Since then, this St. Louis suburb of 21,000 people has gone through epic upheaval with revelations of systemic discrimination against African-Americans by law enforcement and the courts,” reports USA Today.
“That is what our democracy is about,” said Bell, 40, a lawyer and criminal justice professor. Bell, who is a part-time municipal judge in a neighboring city, ran against Lee Smith, a retired electrical plant employee.
And it’s worth noting that turnout for this election was up 30 percent of the city’s 12,738 residents voting. That’s double the usual figure.
“We need more representation because you have to understand the culture of the people and you need to understand how to interact with people,” Jones said.