Ella Jones was elected as the first African American and female mayor of Ferguson, Missouri on Tuesday (June 2). She defeated her opponent Heather Robinett, claiming 54 percent on the vote and will succeed the city’s current mayor, James Knowles III.
Throughout her campaign, Jones committed to police reform, as Ferguson residents, and people around the country, continue to protest against the recent police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
“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,” Jones told St. Louis Public Radio‘s Jason Rosenbaum. “I know the people in Ferguson are ready to stabilize their community, and we’re going to work together to get it done.”
Jones’ victory also lands almost six years after Ferguson erupted into similar protests when a white police officer named Darren Wilson shot and killed Black teenager, Michael Brown. After the Department of Justice decided not to prosecute Wilson, he eventually resigned from his position.
“It’s just our time,” Jones told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Tuesday (June 2). “It’s just my time to do right by the people.”
Jones’ platform also includes continuing the reform work that began with Brown’s death, such as the federal consent decree. Introduced by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, the agreement gives the government the right to sue police departments if they’re found to display a “pattern and practice” of excessive force and compel them to change their policies.
According to the New York Times, Jones has been a Ferguson resident for over 40 years and also serves as a pastor at the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In 2015, she became the first African American woman voted onto Ferguson’s City Council.
Speaking with Rosenbaum, Jones also explained her plans to communicate with the Department of Justice, continue testing Ferguson residents for COVID-19 and get businesses safely back up and running. See her interview below.