Nearly six years after Ferguson erupted in protests and uprisings over the tragic murder of Michael Brown, the city has elected Ella Jones as not only the first Black mayor but the first woman mayor as well.
Jones, a Ferguson City Council member, pastor, and resident of the city for over 40 years, is dedicated to leading the city in a new direction. After Ferguson was ushered into national attention for their fight against police brutality and racism in the city, they took the national stage mobilizing the Black Lives Matter movement.
The newly-elected mayor beat out fellow councilwoman Heather Robinett by only 138 votes to succeed term-limited Mayor James Knowles III, NPR reports.
Jones’ victory still plays background to the ongoing protests in Ferguson as part of the Black resistance movements across the country combating the recent police brutality incidents.
Jones has made her stance on current events clear and is committed to police department reform. She is also in full support of the peaceful protests.
“It’s just our time,” Jones told local reporters Tuesday night. “It’s just my time to do right by the people.”
When asked what her election means for Ferguson’s Black residents, Jones responded: “One word: inclusion,” Vogue reports. I
According to Forbes, Jones’ first order of business in her new position is to meet with the Department of Justice and St. Louis County to help the city rebuild economically as it emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.
“Being the first African American woman…it means I’ve got work to do — because when you’re an African-American woman, they require more of you than they require of my counterpart,” Jones told St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum. “I know the people in Ferguson are ready to stabilize their community, and we’re going to work together to get it done.”
Jones experienced her fair share of discrimination running her race for mayor, as many doubted her ability to lead the city.
“If you’ve been oppressed so long, it’s hard for you to break out to a new idea,” Jones said, according to The New York Times. “And when you’ve been governed by fear and people telling you that the city is going to decline because an African-American person is going to be in charge, then you tend to listen to the rhetoric and don’t open your mind to new possibilities.”
Jones’ election continues the steady rise of Black political influence in Ferguson. Her supporters hope having a Black woman in charge will bring much-needed changes to the city.