This City Saw the Rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Today, They Elected Their First Black Mayor

Ella Jones Elected BELatna Latinx
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Protests in the streets over George Floyd’s death at the hands of law enforcement are not an isolated phenomenon.

The end of patience and apathy in American society seems to be manifesting itself in the political transformations as well.

An example of this was Ella Jones’ victory in the race for mayor of Ferguson, MO on Tuesday, almost six years after the city saw the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of Black teenager Michael Brown, also at the hands of the police.

Jones, 65, beat Heather Robinett, 49, with 54 percent of the vote, making her the first Black mayor of the city, and the news of her victory coincided with shouts of protest from hundreds of people in the streets.

“People from the seniors to the young people understand that my goal is for us to be one — for us to work together,” Jones said, according to St. Louis Public Radio.

When asked what her historic victory means to her, she responded bluntly: “That means I got work to do.”

 

“Because when you’re an African-American woman, they require more of you than they require of my counterpart,” Jones said. “I know the people in Ferguson are ready to stabilize their community, and we’re going to work together to get it done.”

Jones has resided in Ferguson for over 40 years, after moving there with her husband. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and worked as a high-pressure liquid chromatographer, at the University of Washington School of Medicine and KV Pharmaceutical.

She is also a pastor of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

In 2014, and after Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, the riots that took over the city for weeks triggered activist organizations such as the Black Lives Matter movement. However, Wilson was never prosecuted, and the epidemic of police violence remained intact, until now.

In April 2015, Jones became the first black woman elected to the Ferguson City Council, without an “enthusiastic backing from protesters at the time,” explained the New York Times.

“I don’t get along to go along,” she said then. “If I see something that needs to be addressed, I will address it.”

Jones ran for mayor for the first time in the 2017 municipal elections, the first election after Brown’s death, and failed to achieve her goal, collecting 42.77 percent of the vote.

The then-candidate argued that many black residents had confessed to her that they did not believe that electing a black mayor would change their conditions much.

“If you’ve been oppressed so long, it’s hard for you to break out to a new idea,” she said at the time. “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.”