Recently we have seen a lot of diversity in mayors across the country. Many of the candidates have faced racism from the people of their city or town. But this doesn’t stop them from running for the position and trying to make their city a better place. There have been a few historic firsts happening more often this past year. The amount of Mayors who are people of color has begun to increase over the last few years. There is a record number of Black women who are becoming mayor and Asian Americans are also making history in mayoral races.
Deqa Dhalac is a Somali American Woman who ran for Mayor of a city in Maine that is 90% white back in 2018 and won. She became the first Muslim woman to be mayor in South Portland, Maine. When Dhalc first started campaigning people were hesitant about her but this didn’t stop her from continuing to push and work harder. An article for CNN said that her election shows what can be accomplished when people find ways to connect with each other instead of putting up walls. One of the main things that motivated her to run for Trump’s presidency because she realized that no matter how much work she put in they were missing in the decision-making tables. Dhalac ran for a second term unopposed and she will serve for a one-year term. Dhalac hopes that her becoming Mayor will inspire others to follow in her steps. Click here to learn more about Dhalc and why she ran for mayor and more about her background.
Ed Gainey was officially sworn into office on Monday, Jan. 3rd, 2022 and he became Pittsburgh’s first Black Mayor. He prioritized criminal justice reform in his campaign including demilitarizing police weapons and training and focusing police training on de-escalation techniques. This became one of the main reasons why so many people voted for him. People really liked that he has a really good record on criminal justice reform. This also isn’t Gainey’s first time in city politics because he was a community development specialist in Mr. Ravenstahl’s administration before becoming the 24th District’s state legislator in 2012. He mentioned that being the cities first Black mayor isn’t something he takes lightly. He told Pittsburgh Post Gazette, “We have a choice to accept things as they are or to take responsibility for changing them.” To learn more about Gainey click here.
Eric Adams was elected as the new Mayor of New York City on Jan. 1, 2022, and he is the second Black mayor in the history of the city. He will face some difficulties throughout his term with the city facing the consequences of the pandemic. When Adams won he promised to meet the needs of working and middle-class voters of color. He values diversity. Adams told the New York Times that, “We are so divided right now and we’re missing the beauty of our diversity,” He seeks to fight racism in the NYPD so he founded the reform group 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care. To learn more about Adams and his background click here.
Lebanese American Abdullah Hammoud became mayor of Dearborn, Michigan on Nov. 2, 2022. He is the first Arab, Muslim and person of color mayor in this city. Hammoud aims to improve the quality of life for all residents of Dearborn. He told Al Jazeera, “Success is not measured by being the first, but by setting a good example to pave the way for others,” He said he doesn’t any young girls and boys to be ridiculed for their faith or ethnicity. Hammoud hopes to improve the infrastructure and economic recovery from the pandemic. He insists that he didn’t run solely for diversity and he said in one of his speeches, “We never ran to be the first, We ran to be the best.” For more information on Hammoud click here.
Michelle Wu became the mayor of Boston, Massachusetts on Nov. 16, 2021. She is the first Asian American to be elected mayor in Boston. Her parents immigrated from Taiwan to set up for success. Wu graduated from Harvard in 2007 and went to Harvard law school. She has advocated fare-free public transportation and a municipal "Green New Deal" for Boston. Wu has spoken in favor of demilitarizing the Boston Police Department and establishing an unarmed community safety crisis response system that would assume responsibility for nonviolent 911 calls. Click here if you want to learn more about Wu and her background.
Although Wanda Williams was the last to enter the race for Mayor, she was still able to win and become the mayor for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 2022. She was involved in city politics for 20 years. She speaks about providing places for children to have a safe space to play and she also discusses opportunities for residents. Williams doesn’t want to worry about issues from the past, she wants to focus on the future of the community and how it can be better. In her campaign, she promised to focus on more inclusive economic development policies that benefit the city’s Black population. If you want to learn more about Williams click here.