Ella Jones just became the first black person and first woman to be elected mayor in Ferguson, the city whose protests almost six years ago solidified the Black Lives Matter movement following the police killing of Mike Brown. On Tuesday (June 2nd), Jones made history as the first black woman to become mayor of the Missouri city in its 126-year history.
“The common goal is the people,” Jones, who’s lived in Ferguson for more than 40 years, told Missouri resident, Jason Rosenbaum, about her new position. “It’s ‘We the people.’ I tell people all the time, if you go look in the budget, the first thing you see is the organizational chart. When you look at the organizational chart in the budget, at the top of that chart it says ‘citizens.’ And then from the top, the elected officials. The elected officials appoint and hire a city manager and a city clerk. If the people are not in charge of what they’re doing, then you’re gonna have chaos. We have had enough chaos.”
As you’ll recall, on August 9, 2014, 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr. was shot dead by former police officer, Darren Wilson, in Ferguson. The tragedy sparked immense outrage, leading to protests in Ferguson that lasted weeks as well as the official public recognition of the Black Lives Matter movement. Wilson was never charged for his crime.
However, Jones wants better for her city and the people who live in it, and she plans to use her new position to include Ferguson residents in this positive change. “I am going to be very transparent,” she said during an interview with KSDK News. “As a matter of fact, after my first 90 days in office, I’ve already started putting a task force together so that we can do a town hall and the people of Ferguson will know the state of their city. It’s very important that the people be informed of what’s going on. They can be a part of the government.” According to The New York Times, Jones won 54% of the vote, beating out her opponent, Heather Robinett. Jones succeeds James Knowles III, who has been mayor of the city for the past nine years since 2011. Check out some of the reactions to this incredible news on Twitter.