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Charlottesville’s first black female mayor: ‘We’re not a post-racial nation’

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A year ago, white supremacist groups marched with torches through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia. The city reacted by electing its first black female mayor, Nikuyah Walker, 38, a fierce critic of how city officials had handled last year’s far-right protests.

An independent, Walker ran under the campaign slogan “Unmasking the illusion”. She argued that Charlottesville’s Democratic politicians had failed to do enough to tackle systemic racism and economic inequality, and that it was time for a deeper change.

Walker spoke to the Guardian about her policy agenda, what it was like growing up black in Charlottesville, and why she believes Democratic politicians “don’t know how to reform systems”. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

How much did witnessing neo-Nazis marching in the streets change the city’s willingness to tackle systemic racism?

I had someone tell me in a recent conversation that “I think it’s important for the city to just make sure that the streets are paved and the bushes are trimmed and trash picked up on time”. Well, if that’s all you have to worry about … I’ve never had that luxury, and many others have never had that luxury.

What changed was that people were faced with the fact that we’re not a post-racial nation.

What was it like growing up as a black woman in Charlottesville?

Growing up here was tough. There’s a Michelle Alexander quote from The New Jim Crow: “The current system of control depends on black exceptionalism; it is not disproved or undermined by it.”

I was a teen mother. I raised three kids. My youngest kid is 15. I don’t know a black native person [in Charlottesville] who does not have a significant percentage of their family who’s either been incarcerated or is still incarcerated. There is poverty all around, and all the trauma that goes with poverty, you see it on a day-to-day basis. I was fortunate enough, I came from a long line of women – the matriarchs in my family are absolutely amazing. What they had in terms of wealth was tons of love and care.

When you started your campaign early last year, did you expect to win?

I thought I would spend a year at least making the debates interesting, but I did not think that people would vote. I came out with my campaign slogan, “Unmasking the illusion”, in March 2017. My campaign colors were red, black, and green. I ran my entire campaign myself until August.

Read more by Lois Beckett HERE

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DC Urban Events

HU Homecoming Hookie Day Soiree | Friday, Oct. 26

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Welcome to the 2nd Annual Howard University Homecoming Hookie Day Party featuring HU Alumni DJs – DJ Premonition, DJ Paul Howard & DJ Jahsonic

Tables are available on the 1st and 2nd floor only. Culinary treats and select libations will be served!! We look forward to celebrating class and line anniversaries with a special toast to 93, 98, 03, and 08!! All Tables require a table registration fee of $100 through the ticket link.

The Bison Brixton Package
1 Bottle of Courvoisier and 1 Bottle of Tito’s= $395
The HU Cook Hall Package
1 Bottle of Maker’s Mark and 1 Bottle of Tito’s= $375
The HU U Street Package
1 Bottle of Jameson and 1 Bottle of Tito’s= $375
The HU Bison & Bubbly Package

1 Bottle of Tito’s and 1 Bottle Veuve Clicquot= $395

Best Buy Co, Inc.
GET TICKETS VIA EVENTBRITE

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Community DMV

Bring a Resume

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Letter from the Mayor

Dear Washingtonians,

Washington, DC is a growing city. From sports and entertainment to museums and restaurants, we are a city that has something for everyone—a place where you can walk to work or take the train, hike through Rock Creek Park or ride your bike along the waterfront. We’re a leader in tech and innovation. A city where aspiring entrepreneurs can start and grow small and local businesses.

As DC grows, my Administration is focused on ensuring all residents, in every neighborhood, get a fair shot and an opportunity to participate in our city’s prosperity. And we’re always looking for more people to join us in this work.

Want to learn more about joining our team? On Monday, October 22, join me at my Administration’s Fall 2018 Resume Raiser. Meet members of my team and learn more about volunteer and career opportunities at DC Government. Learn more and RSVP HERE.

No job or idea is too big or too small for DC Government—we function as a city, a state, and a county. From fixing potholes to fighting for statehood, we do it all. Join us.

Sincerely,

Muriel Bowser

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Entertainment

Kanye West and Donald Trump | Cold Open – SNL

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Best Buy Co, Inc.
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