Ella Jones Is Elected First Black Mayor Of Ferguson, Missouri
Ella Jones has been elected as the first black mayor of Ferguson, the city where black teenager Michael Brown was fatally shot by a white police officer back in 2014.
Brown’s death was followed by months of protests against police brutality in the Missouri city, which ultimately led to nationwide Black Lives Matter protests.
Jones, 65, earned 54% of the vote in Ferguson mayoral race, with opponent Heather Robinett taking 46%. She will take over from James Knowles III, the mayor since 2011 who she lost out to during the 2017 mayoral election.
As reported by The New York Times, both Jones and her opponent Robinett had promised to continue changes put in place following Brown’s death. These changes included a federal consent decree, a legally binding agreement requiring police department reforms.
Both candidates emphasised their support for peaceful protests following the recent death of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of a white police officer.
In a video uploaded by St. Louis Public Radio reporter Jason Rosenbaum on the night of Tuesday, June 2, Jones said:
So, being the first African American woman, what does that mean? That 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. And I know the people in Ferguson are ready to stabilise their community, and we’re going to work together to get it done.
According to the Ferguson City website, Jones has been a Ferguson resident for more than 40 years, and is a graduate of the University of Missouri at St. Louis where she studied Chemistry.
An American Chemical Society-certified high pressure liquid chromatographer, Jones is a trained pharmacy technician and has also been a pastor in the African Methodist Episcopal Church for 22 years.
Jones joined the city government in 2014, just a few short months after the tragic shooting of Michael Brown.
In 2015, Jones broke barriers by becoming the first black woman to serve on the Ferguson City Council. Although the black community makes up almost 70% of the population of Ferguson, as per The Huffington Post, the city had a mostly white government and police force at that time.
As per Jones’s website, her priorities for the city include a focus on public safety, neighbourhood stabilisation, jobs and economic development, youth engagement, senior citizens, and consent decree.
Jones is a board member of both the Emerson Family YMCA and the St. Louis MetroMarket, a decommissioned bus retrofitted as a mobile farmers’ market as a way of bringing fresh fruits and vegetables to underprivileged communities.
She is also the founder and chairperson of nonprofit community development organisation Community Forward, Inc.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
CreditsJason Rosenbaum/Twitter and 4 others
The New York Times
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI