Less than a year after a string of white supremacist and KKK rallies put a global spotlight on Charlottesville, the Virginia city is diversifying its governmental leadership by voting a black woman into office.
On Tuesday (Jan. 2), the city council voted 4-1 to make Nikuyah Walker Charlottesville’s first black female mayor, the Daily Progress reports.
“I’m learning, this is all new, but again running a campaign was new, I have been successful,” Walker said upon accepting the nomination.
Her vice mayor, Heather Hill added, “I certainly believe that we are in a community that is looking for change and I would look forward to the opportunity to partner with Ms. Walker.”
We made history last night and then we got to work. #MayorNikuyahWalker #Charlottesville pic.twitter.com/CJIpoPKFMz
— Mayor Nikuyah Walker (@NikuyahWalkerCC) January 3, 2018
The vote is being viewed as a clear rebuke of Donald Trump giving complimentary words for tiki-torch baring nazi’s, and downplaying the overall racial hatred that erupted in Charlottesville.
Walker was born and raised in Charlottesville, and this isn’t the first time she made history in her hometown. Last year, Walker became the first independent candidate to be voted to the city council since 1948.
“I have spent my entire adult life serving those most oppressed and neglected in this community,” Walker wrote on her city council campaign website. According to the site, Walker has dedicated hours to volunteering as an advocate for “social and racial justice” in Charlottesville.
Of course, voting a black mayor into office doesn’t mean the racial tensions in the city are fully extinguished (at the time of last summer’s riots, Charlotteville had a black vice mayor, Wes Bellamy). In fact, some particularly angry Charlottesville residents are still leaving negative reviews on the city’s Facebook page in reaction to a plan to remove the Robert E. Lee statue that was at the center of the violent alt-right riot in August.