Jones has committed to continuing the reform started since Mike Brown’s death. Her top item on her platform: support the hiring of qualified police officers.
As protesters across the country gathered together for another night holding up signs reading “Black Lives Matter” and “Silence is complicity,” voters in Ferguson, Missouri, made their voices heard on Tuesday by electing their first Black mayor. Mayor-Elect Ella Jones is also the first woman to lead the city.
Jones’ victory comes nearly six years after the St. Louis suburb was rocked by the shooting death of Mike Brown, an 18-year-old Black teen who was killed by white police officer Darren Wilson. The incident sparked demonstrations in Ferguson, some of which turned violent, and a national debate about police violence and systemic racism.
In recent days, the city has seen a new wave of unrest related to the police killing of Minneapolis resident George Floyd. Like Brown, Floyd was also unarmed when approached by police.
Jones—who has lived in Ferguson for more than four decades and was also the first Black woman to serve on City Council when she was elected in 2015—secured 54% of the vote while her opponent, Heather Robinett, earned 46% support. This was her second time running for mayor.
As former President Barack Obama pointed out in a Medium post this week, voting in local elections is essential to enacting change. “It’s mayors and county executives that appoint most police chiefs and negotiate collective bargaining agreements with police unions,” he wrote. “It’s district attorneys and state’s attorneys that decide whether or not to investigate and ultimately charge those involved in police misconduct.”
As such, Jones has committed to continuing the work started since Brown’s death to keep Ferguson residents safe. Her top item on her platform: support the hiring of qualified police officers.
During an interview with St. Louis Public Radio, Jones told journalist Jason Rosenbaum that being the first Black mayor of the city meant she’s “got work to do.”
“When you’re an African-American woman, they require more of you than they require of my counterpart,” Jones said after her victory, in a video posted online Tuesday night. “I know that the people in Ferguson are ready to stabilize their community, and we’re going to work together to get it done.”