Mariah Parker, County Commissioner / Facebook
Britni Danielle
Jun, 07, 2018

This year, more Black women are running for office than ever before; including 26-year-old Mariah Parker, who became one of the newest African-American women to win a seat at the table.

Parker, a hip-hop artist and doctoral student at the University of Georgia, beat her competitor by just 13 votes to become the District 2 commissioner in Athens, Georgia. On Wednesday, she was sworn into office with her fist in the air and her right hand firmly placed on The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

According to the Red and Black, Parker, a community organizer and activist, “wants to focus on creating economic stability and racial justice in Athens. She wants to provide a higher minimum wage for residents as well as address criminal justice reform.”

Parker is part of a progressive wave that swept across the southern town this year. In addition to the PhD student, Athens voters elected four new commissioners and a new mayor who each touted their liberal policies. Parker called their victories “a new era.”

“We are moving to a new era of Athens politics,” she told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after her win. “We pulled off incredible things here because we got tired of waiting around for a hero to save us.”

Parker also implored others to follow her example and jump into the political fray to make change wherever they see fit.

Everyday folks can go out and do this work,” she said. “It’s an earthquake. Everything got shaken up. But it needed to.”