Tishaura Jones
Tishaura Jones dances with sorority sisters at a watch party after clinching the win as St. Louis Mayor, in St. Louis on Tuesday, April 6, 2021. (Bill Greenblatt/UPI/Shutterstock)

Tishaura Jones Becomes Mayor of St. Louis, Joins Growing Number of Black Female Mayors Leading a Major American City

More and more Black women are becoming mayors of large American cities. Tishaura Jones has become the latest in a string of recent women candidates advancing to the top of city leadership. With her win on April 6, Jones becomes the first-ever Black woman mayor of St. Louis.

Formerly the city’s treasurer, Jones previously ran for mayor of St. Louis in 2017 but lost in the Democratic primary by fewer than 900 votes.

Barbara Rodriguez of the nonprofit newsroom The 19th has reported that “during a speech Tuesday night after her runoff victory over Alderman Cara Spencer, Jones indicated her intention to address broad inequities as part of her vision for St. Louis.”

“I will not stay silent when I spot racism. I will not stay silent when I spot homophobia or transphobia. I will not stay silent when I spot xenophobia. I will not stay silent when I spot religious intolerance. I will not stay silent when I spot any injustice,” Jones said.

According to Rodriguez, “Jones’s election is part of an unmistakable trend in American cities: In 2017, Keisha Lance Bottoms became the second Black woman elected mayor of Atlanta and Vi Alexander Lyles became the first Black woman elected mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina. In 2018, LaToya Cantrell became the first [Black] woman mayor of New Orleans and London Breed became the first Black woman mayor elected in the city of San Francisco. In 2019, Lori Lightfoot became the first Black woman mayor of Chicago.”

Currently, there are also Black women running for mayor in Boston and New York. Of the 100 largest cities in the U.S., 32 have women serving as mayors — seven of whom are Black women. 

“We’re seeing a reshape of what executive leadership looks like,” said Kimberly Peeler-Allen, a visiting practitioner at the Center for American Women and Politics in an interview with The 19th. “Because we’ve seen Black women run and win in legislative bodies, but we have not seen them at the top of the ticket as the ones who are, ‘The buck stops here.’ We have not seen that in concentrated numbers prior to 2017. And I think that is really reshaping how Black women see themselves, and also how the electorate sees Black women’s leadership and the need for Black women’s leadership.”

Rodriguez also reported that Black women’s representation is increasing through all levels of city government, citing a study from the Reflective Democracy Campaign that found women of color have experienced significant increases in all levels of elected city positions since 2016.

“The phenomenon of Black women winning mayoral seats isn’t happening in a vacuum,” said Brenda Choresi Carter, director of Reflective Democracy Campaign. “There’s actually this real surge of Black women and women of color more broadly in city-level elected offices across the country.”

“People are really recognizing the value of having diverse voices around decision-making tables and the way that women, and particularly Black women, just lead differently,” added Peeler-Allen. “It is an opportunity to make sure that all people are included in the conversation.”

Maya Wiley, who is among the candidates running for mayor of New York City, agrees with that sentiment. “We have always been caregivers of our communities and we have always been looking for solutions for our community members,” Wiley said in a statement. “I think that’s why you see so many of us running now for executive positions because we want to manage the change we need to make.”

Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.

 

Latest News

woke politics

Republicans Launch a War on ‘Woke’ Politics in Hopes of Big Legislative Wins in 2022

In 2020, former President Barack Obama warned that the phrase “Defund the Police” could become a dangerous rallying cry for the conservative right. But now, Republicans have apparently taken that warning one step further, declaring war on all things “woke.” Allan Smith and Sahil Kapur of NBC News wrote that…

women in politics

Women Remain Vastly Underrepresented in Local Government, Despite Conventional Wisdom Suggesting Otherwise

Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sat behind President Biden during his first speech to a joint session of Congress on April 28 — representing the first time two women held such important and high-ranking political offices. Even after such a historic moment, the reality…

voter restriction

Florida Follows Georgia’s Lead, Approves Racist Anti-Voter Restrictions Aimed Primarily at Democrats and People of Color

Not content with letting Georgia be the only state in the South demonized for its bigoted and racist attacks on voter rights, Florida has jumped into the fray in issuing its own series of new and highly controversial “Jim Crow-esque” anti-voting restrictions aimed specifically at disenfranchising Democrats and voters of…

Kentucky Derby

Inspired by Protests Over Breonna Taylor’s Death, Humana and Kentucky Derby Festival Launch Diversity and Inclusion Initiative in Louisville

Ahead of the 147th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 1, Kentucky Derby officials and Humana (No. 25 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020) have announced a new equity initiative meant to make the race more accessible and welcoming to everyone, regardless of race, gender, age…

crimes against human ity

‘Crime Against Humanity’; Global Report Says the US Should Be Prosecuted in International Criminal Court for Ongoing Police Murders of Black Americans

In what has been described as a “devastating” report, human rights experts and lawyers have investigated and released a 188-page analysis of the ongoing police brutality and killing of Black Americans in the U.S. Their verdict: the country is guilty of “crimes against humanity” and should be prosecuted for its…

Tokyo, Olympics

Tokyo Olympics to Encourage Significant Increase in Gender Equality Among Event’s Corporate Sponsors

Besides simply being a showcase for some of the most talented and athletic men and women on the planet, the organizers of the Tokyo Olympics are hoping their event this summer can also help promote significant change in corporate culture, both in Japan and around the globe. Bloomberg’s Ayai Tomisawa…