In a historic victory, Tishaura Jones has just become the first Black woman to be elected mayor of St. Louis. She defeated her opponent, Alderman Clara Spencer, 52 percent to 48 percent. Both Jones and Spencer had advocated for social justice, and they promised to implement criminal justice reform.
As things stand, St. Louis has had a major triumph. Unlike most of her predecessors, Jones promises that the mayor’s office will no longer treat race as an afterthought. This comes amidst increasing gun violence, a pandemic that has hurt people of color more than others, and unrest at the city’s jails.
She ran on a progressive platform. Under the new system, the city’s residents could vote for all the candidates they wanted in the municipal primaries. The two candidates with the most votes then moved on to the general election.
This isn’t Jones’ first time running for mayor. She initially tried in 2017 but wasn’t successful at the time. Now, though, is as good a time as any to show that she’s the best person for the job. In fact, she has already promised to shut down the Workforce—a pretrial detention center infamous for its inhumane conditions—within 100 days of being sworn in.
Reimagining Public Safety
Jones feels that St. Louis is becoming more amenable to having serious conversations about racism and public safety. She knows plenty of people who never experienced racism until they moved to the city.
Now, she has already given the city’s police union notice that they should get rid of Jeff Roorda, the business manager of the St. Louis Police Officers Association, if they are looking for a seat at her table. Roorda is known to have gaslighted racism in the city, to the pain and suffering of countless minorities. He is part of the problem, and he really should have been ousted ages ago.
On Gun Violence
She agrees with President Joe Biden that gun violence should be declared a public health crisis. Since 2013, people have found it easier to own guns thanks to relaxed gun laws. This has led to an alarming increase in minority deaths from gun violence.
Jones plans to address it by taking a hard look at poverty levels and looking for ways to alleviate them. Her idea is to give people opportunities that don’t just allow them to survive but let them thrive.
Already A Success
Just by becoming the first Black woman mayor in St. Louis, Tishaura Jones has already become a success and an inspiration. But she’s not done.
Her main goal during her tenure is to build a city where everyone has the same opportunity to succeed, regardless of their race, locale, gender, identity or sexual orientation. She will ensure that the police aren’t the only answer when one dials 911. She also wants the youth to be at the heart of her plans.
With such ambitious—but necessary—goals, time will tell how much Jones will change the city. If she manages even half of what she’s promised, the future will be bright for all of the city’s residents.