November 2023 – Black candidates celebrated historic victories in elections across the country last Tuesday, including a few firsts. In Philadelphia, Cherelle Parker became the first woman and first African American woman to win the mayoral election. Mayor-elect Parker, 50, easily defeated her Republican opponent, David Oh. Parker touted her life experience as a Black woman in Philadelphia while campaigning. “That I would put to great use everything inside of me, my lived life experience, my professional experience, my academic preparation, that I would put all of it to great use, and I would make Philadelphia the safest, the greenest big city in the nation with economic opportunity for all,” said Parker.
In Rhode Island, Gabe Amo became the first Black person to represent the state in Congress. In New York City, Exonerated Five member Yusef Salaam went from being wrongfully convicted to a city council member. “If I’m not mistaken, I’m the first person who was exonerated to be in city council,” he said. “That says something to a community of people who are looking for solutions to similar issues. Folks who have been run over by the spoke wheels of justice.”
Although he was running unopposed, Salaam’s victory brought hope to the fight for criminal justice reform. “For Rhode Island, it’s been interesting to have an immigrant story that everyone can relate to,” Amo said to CBS News. “I’m going to be a voice for making sure we can restore confidence and trust despite the Republican Party that is rife with chaos.”