On June 5, Mariah Parker was sworn in as Georgia’s Athens-Clarke county commissioner with one hand placed on a copy of the Autobiography of Malcolm X that her mother was holding beside her, and the other in a fist signifying the salute of the Black Power movement. After winning the election by thirteen votes, the progressive candidate not only secured a win for the state of Georgia, but for the rest of the country. Once again, the importance of voting is extremely relevant. Parker, a Black woman whose campaign promise stated “I will listen to you, work for your, and fight for local policies that will strengthen our neighborhoods and protect our working families” worked as a community organizer and civil rights activist. She is ready to take public office with objectives concerning the poverty level, racial prejudice, criminal justice, education reform and transportation. She continues to state, “When this movement wins, we all win a seat at the table.” The affirmation itself is groundbreaking. Her views are progressive and provide premise to a new wave of politicians — those with a zeal for communal integrity, not individual gain.
In times of this atrocious political climate that is only fueling hatred and bigotry with an underlying capitalistic regime that further racial and economic inequality, Mariah Parker stands as a modern day superhero. Her impact stands as one that will go on to power movements. According to a recent interview and article written in Teen Vogue, Parker is openly queer, a current Ph.D. candidate at the University of Georgia and she dabbles in the performing arts, as a rapper under the name Lingua Franca. Additionally, she is also incredibly open about her mental illness and has been an avid immigrant and women’s rights activist. She even speaks on her experience being a minority in higher education.
2018 is also set to have more women run for office than any other in the past. The entire election elucidates the notion that the future is not going to be the same white, cisgendered, heterosexual, narrow-minded men who are considered to be the norm or politics. Furthermore, representation is vital for change whether it be local or global for numerous obvious reasons. We gain new perspectives that have been suppressed for decades prior, we begin to understand what it means to be part of a community in which we care about our fellow neighbors and continue to fight for their rights and we ensure the solving of longtime problems in ways that the overall establishment has yet to implement. Parker is paving way for millions of other young politicians who hold the same objectives. That is why her win is legendary.
The question then becomes: what can we do to aid in this progressive wave? Well, one answer could be to simply vote. One vote can change the face of history. This is your time to get involved. Volunteer at a local campaign, register to vote, get in touch with your local board of elections, never disregard the power of petition, educate yourself on local politics and find ways to contact your officials and always encourage your friends to do the same. There are myriad of ways to participate in the resistance. The first step is using your voice in any way possible. This implies understanding any privilege you may have and use it for good. Mariah Parker is living proof that progress is among us. She inspires a surge within that calls for further action. She is the future.
Photo: Amanda Greene