Several Black political candidates are trying to dominate key mayoral races across the nation in the name of activism. Chicago, Oakland and Little Rock, Arkansas have seen a surge of activists who want to help lead their cities into a brighter future.
In Oakland, Cat Brooks, a mayoral candidate driven by her passion to fight for police accountability, wants to build a movement in the predominately Black California city. Brooks — who is running against 10 competitors including incumbent Libby Schaff — would like to see Oakland residents unify in an effort for a community-led change after Oscar Grant‘s 2009 shooting death and national outrage over a white woman, deemed BBQ Becky, who called police on Black people at a park earlier this year, Mother Jones reported.
“It’s one thing to be on the outside and be like, ‘Oh, forget that. I’m not doing all those politics,’ but then you’re mad when they pass legislation banning barbecuing by the lake that targets Black people,” Brooks, who has worked with Black Lives Matter, said, referring to BBQ Becky. “And I don’t mean to minimize it to something like that. But there are people inside City Hall that are making decisions — in all city halls — that are about our lives and they don’t care very much about our lives.”
In Chicago, Ja’Mal Green, a Black Lives Matter activist and Chicago native, has seen gun violence claim lives in his city for years. Green, who is one of the candidates running in a packed mayoral race, wants to succeed controversial Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who will not seek re-election. “Millennials all over the world are stepping up and taking charge,” Green said to the Chicago Sun-Times. “In the environment we’re in today, Chicago needs change, corruption needs to end, we need a modern approach to politics in Chicago.”
In Little Rock, Vincent Tolliver, 51, is facing off against four candidates for mayor. The writer and activist has an all-people-first mentality. “My vision for Little Rock is a city that works for everyone and puts people first, always remembering there are 7 Wards in the city – not just a cherry-picked few,” a statement made by Tolliver via Arkansas Money & Politics website read.
Tolliver continued, “City Hall currently operates like a private club, granting access to a selected few. City Hall is not a private club; it’s the People’s House. As the next mayor of Little Rock, I will insist on a people-first culture. This means when a resident of the city of Little Rock wakes up in the morning, he or she will know and feel that the city is rooting for him or her.”