Ella Jones

Ella Jones elected first black mayor of Ferguson, Missouri

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Six years, the killing of Michael Brown, a 18 year-old black man, at the hands of a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri sparked several days of protests on racial injustice and police brutality around the country. The protests greatly amplified calls for police reform and stronger black participation in the political system. They also helped launch the Black Lives Matter movement nationwide.

Now, Ferguson’s voters have elected the town’s first black and first female mayor, city councilwoman Ella Jones.

Her election is further sign of the black community’s increasing political influence. In 2014, Ferguson had one black council member. Now four of six council seats (including that of Jones) are filled by African Americans. Such representation in the mayor’s office and in the city council helps ensure that the city’s policies reflects the needs and perspectives of those who have for two long been disenfranchised by political power, locally and nationally.

It’s probably a coincidence that Ferguson mayoral elections came directly amid nationwide protests for racial justice in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. But this is very much a product of the moment. Voters in Ferguson knew that now was a moment ripe for change, that protests will only be truly affect lasting change when that passion and sense of urgency spill over into the ballot box.

How do we carry that sense of urgency for the next several months all the way up to election day in November?

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Peter Schulte

Peter Schulte is the founder and editor of Kindling. Peter is also Senior Digital Engagement Associate for the Pacific Institute and the UN Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate, connecting businesses to sustainable water practices. Peter holds a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. in Sustainable Systems from Pinchot University. He lives in Bellingham, WA, USA with his wife, son, and cat.

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