In rebuke to Trump, Charlottesville selects first black woman mayor


Nikuyah Walker joins a growing list of black women chosen to lead American cities.

The city of Charlottesville, Virginia suffered a dark year in 2017.

Marked out by Confederate sympathizers for moving to eliminate a statue of Robert E. Lee, white supremacists converged on the city for violent demonstrations in August, resulting in the murder of civil rights activist Heather Heyer.

Donald Trump did nothing to comfort the city, claiming some of the white supremacists were “very fine people” and blaming the violence on "both sides." Republican Rep. Tom Garrett, whose district includes Charlottesville, even posed for a smiling photo-op with one of the racist activists who organized the violent event.

But the residents of the city fought back against hate at the ballot box — and their efforts have resulted in a new and diverse generation of state and local leaders.

In November, Charlottesville helped elect Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax — the second-ever African American to hold that office.

And at the local level, Charlottesville city councilor Nikuyah Walker, also elected last November, was appointed mayor on Tuesday, becoming the first black woman in that role.

Walker, who was an outspoken critic of the city government’s response to the white supremacist violence, joins several black women who won mayoral elections and appointments last year, including many in large, Southern cities.

The year has not even entered its second week yet, and already women and people of color are securing a greater voice in government. It is time for all Americans’ concerns to be heard and needs to be met — and with women like Walker joining the ranks of leadership, we're headed in the right direction.