After a year plagued by racially-fueled hatred and negativity, the city of Charlottesville, Virginia is kicking off 2018 under new management.
As of Tuesday, January 2, Charlottesville City Council member Nikuyah Walker is now also the city’s new mayor. The election of Walker by the council is a historic moment for the city, as she is the first African-American woman to ever hold the position.
“I’m learning, this is all new,” she said, according to NBC News affiliate WVIR. “But again, running a campaign was new, I have been successful.”
Former Vice Mayor, Wes Bellam.y spoke highly of Walker during the nomination process, describing her as a change the community needs.
“I’m not voting for you just because of how you look,” Bellamy said. “I am nominating you because I believe you are intelligent beyond measure, I believe you have the strength that is needed and and I firmly believe that you are the change that our community need to see.”
Walker’s fellow City Council member, Heather Hill, will serve as Charlottesville’s new Vice Mayor.
The city of Charlottesville spent much of 2017 under scrutiny after serving as the meeting place for a deadly white supremacist rally that left one woman dead and several others injured.