Following an intense campaign, Atlanta mayor elect Keisha Lance Bottoms was finally able to bask in the glory of her hard-earned victory this Tuesday, as she was inaugurated before 2,500 people at Morehouse College’s Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel. While Bottoms and her team were all smiles, she stressed just how much work she’s willing to put in for the betterment of the city.
She ultimately hopes that the high of her win doesn’t lead citizens and even her team to slack off, noting the 2016 election of President Donald Trump as reference.
“I hope that we don’t have an Obama effect, where things go well and then we get complacent,” Bottoms shared at her Atlanta city hall inauguration round table. “I hope that this group really stays engaged.”
“Look at where we are as a country. We can’t sit at home and wait for other people to do for us, because we sat home last November, and look at where we are.”
Part of the reason the Atlanta mayoral race was so noteworthy was Bottoms’ ability to engage much needed demographics in an authentic and convincing way. The attorney was certainly helped in those efforts by several celebrity voices in the city, including rappers T.I. and Killer Mike.
“I owe it to them,” admits the wife & mother. “From being in office for several years, I know how to communicate with people the old fashion way. You robocall, but guess what, you can’t robocall cell phones. I would be robocalling my mother and her friends [laughs].
She continued, “I know how to put things in the mail for people, but that really was the extent. I’m just glad we got a different demographic engaged, that made all the difference.”
Madame elect Bottoms wasn’t the only Black woman to make headlines this election, as several major cities across the country elected Black women as mayor for the first time. For the FAMU alum, it’s the manifestation of years of hard work in concert with influence from our former first lady.
“I think what you’re seeing is, there are women who work hard on behalf of our communities every day, and I think it’s now our turn.”
Bottoms went on, “I can’t discount what Michelle Obama has done for this country. She really made women of color more comfortable being in the forefront and speaking their truth publicly and owning all the things that we are. Whether we’re mothers, whether we are wives, whether we are single, whatever that truth is. In a very authentic way, I think she empowered a lot of us and inspired a lot of us.”
In fact, Bottoms hopes Black women around the country know their political value, even as our impact often goes unnoticed and underappreciated.
“Black women comprise the largest demographic of voters in the democratic party historically, and nobody ever talks about that. No one talks about our power. I hope we hold on to that power and don’t relinquish it.”
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.