Six years after police brutality stoked the fires that nearly brought the city to a halt with the tragic death of Michael Brown, Ferguson, Missouri, is stepping into the limelight for a different reason.
On Tuesday residents elected Councilwoman Ella Jones, who represents Ward 1. Jones, 65, secured the win with 54 percent of the vote, beating out her opponent Councilwoman Heather Robinett, 49, who trailed with 46 percent.
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“It’s just our time,” Jones said in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Tuesday night. “It’s just my time to do right by the people.”
Jones will succeed Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III, who was elected in 2011, unable to run for re-election because he exceeded his term limits. The moment is a full-circle experience for Jones who lost against Knowles in 2017 in an unsuccessful bid for mayor.
“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,” Ms. Jones said after her victory, in a Tuesday night video posted by journalist Jason Rosenbaum of St. Louis Public Radio. “I know the people in Ferguson are ready to stabilize their community, and we’re going to work together to get it done.”
In 2015 Jones made history as the first Black woman to be elected to the city council, entering the race after serving as a Mary Kay Sales Director and a chemist.
As a resident of Ferguson for over 40 years and a pastor in the African Methodist Episcopal church, Jones initially struggled to gain footing with Black organizers after calling on demonstrators to cease the looting. However, Jones has committed herself to improve relationships between community members and police, as well as helping to secure a consent decree with.
The moment is not lost on the numerous activists who marched in the streets, much like today, advocating for liberty in light of constant death. Had it not been for their efforts and for the awareness provided by the tools of social media, Ferguson may have remained in the dark, another Black man’s life senselessly taken at the hands of police.
Since that time Ferguson has worked to rectify their demons, after a 2015 Justice Department report revealed corruption and dysfunction racial bias in the local police department.
Jones’ election is just one of many steps taken in the right direction. The hope is that change and action come for Ferguson residents in real-time as Black communities continue to be subjugated by lawless police activity.