MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Whether it’s electing Montgomery’s first black mayor or America’s first female vice president, there is a movement of black political leadership happening across America.
“We‘re just taking the steps necessary to succeed,” Mayor of Camp Hill Messiah Williams-Cole said.
Cole is America’s youngest mayor at 21-year-old. He says past leaders like John Lewis have paved the way for leaders today.
“I think it’s important that we acknowledge them in the things we do because if it were not for them, we would not be able to be in these positions,” Cole added.
Historically black colleges and universities can also be credited. These institutions prepare black students for the real world and provide opportunities for them that they wouldn’t get at other universities.
“I ended up becoming a class officer, and then the next I ran for class queen,” State Rep. Juandalynn Givan said.
Givan credits Miles College for helping her find her political voice.
“You had to watch the news, be able to talk about the issues, know who the world leaders were, know about public administration,” Givens said.
The ascension, Givens said, of more black political leaders across America has even inspired her to seek higher political aspirations one day.
“There are other options on the table, and when I see the opportunity when it presents itself, then I’m definitely going to take advantage of those options,” Givens added.
Many black leaders are also members of black Greek organizations known as the Divine 9. The purpose of these organizations is to provide service and positively influencing the community.
“As I look across the city and we try to support many of these organizations whether its mentoring programs whether its voting education, financial literacy, I believe all of these organizations are doing a fantastic job,” Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed said.
Ultimately, representation matters, and black representation allow voices to be heard and people to have the power to make a change.
“You can have your own seat, and you can have your own table, and you can have whoever you want to partake with you,” Givan said.
Currently, 60 members of Congress in Washington are African American, representing 27 states.