Ferguson Elects Ella Jones As First Black Woman Mayor

The Missouri city councilwoman says she wants to move the city forward from its painful past.

Nearly six years ago, 18-year old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer. The event spurred major outrage in 2014 with demonstrations demanding justice in charges brought against former officer Darren Wilson, the white officer who was trying to arrest Brown and in doing so, killed him. Wilson resigned from the Ferguson police department and was never charged for the shooting, but Brown’s death ignited a number of Black residents to want to do more within the political establishment of their community.

On Tuesday, June 2, in the midst of nationwide demonstrations over the same kind of police violence that made Ferguson infamous, the people of that town have elected their first Black and first woman mayor.

RELATED: 25 Ways To Really Support Activists And Protestors Who Are Demanding Change

After Brown’s death, Jones became the first Black woman elected to the Ferguson City Council and in that roll she has now defeated her fellow councilwoman Heather Robinett with 54 percent of the vote, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. “It’s just our time,” she told the newspaper. “It’s just my time to do right by the people.”
Both Jones and Robinett had campaigned saying they would continue the implementation of policy changes and improvements that have gone forward since the police shooting of Brown in the St. Louis suburb.
Brown’s death ignited days of protest in the town and focused attention at the time on police killings of African Americans. The issue remains consistent six years later with outrage spreading across the nation over the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky and now George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Both women said they supported peaceful protesters who are responding to those deaths, which resulted either from police violence or racial profiling and they also condemn the violence that has upended the protesters’ message.

Jones, 65, said she recognizes the challenges ahead of her given her city’s place in history and wants to bring a federal consent decree requiring reforms to their police department while also helping businesses grow, particularly those damaged during the recent unrest there.

“I’ve got work to do — because when you’re an African-American woman, they require more of you than they require of my counterpart,” she said in a video posted to YouTube by St. Louis Public Radio reporter Jason Rosenbaum. “If the people are not in charge of what they’re doing, then you’re going to have chaos.”

Jones has lived in Ferguson for more than 40 years and is also a pastor in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.


Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, you confirm that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. You also agree to receive marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers) and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. You understand that you can unsubscribe at any time.