A rapper and black activist was just elected as a county commissioner in Georgia, and her first act as an elected official was to ditch the Bible.
Instead, 26-year-old Mariah Parker held up a raised fist as a symbol of “black power” and took the oath of office on a copy of “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.” She promised to end racist policies in the county and bring economic and racial justice to the community.
She won her race for the commissioner’s seat by just 13 votes, in an election that featured low turnout.
Mariah Parker — her right fist raised — placed her left hand on the book about the controversial Nation of Islam leader who was gunned down in 1965. Parker’s mother held the worn paperback as Parker took the oath of office for the Athens-Clarke County Commission. She then took her seat among the other commissioners.
Parker edged out her opponent by a 638 to 625 tally on May 22, OnlineAthens reported.
The University of Georgia doctoral candidate in linguistics is also known by her hip-hop stage name, Lingua Franca.
In a ceremonial swearing in on the City Hall steps (shown above), Parker again used the Malcolm X biography to swear in on, as supporters looked on. The real swearing-in was during the commissioner’s meeting, during which this photo was taken.
Parker made it clear she was ready to shake things up in the county.
“My platform centers around economic and racial justice,” Parker told the Red & Black. “The policies of this town have been structured, deliberately, to ensure that a certain class of people will continue to thrive and a certain class of people will continue to not.”
Parker told the Flagpole that the local black community suffers from lack of resources.
“The racists have all the money, still, so it’s economically advantageous to cater to them,” she added to the Flagpole, which noted Parker’s top priority as a commissioner is earmarking 30 percent of Athens’ contracts for black- and Latino-owned companies.
Here’s how local media covered the swearing-in.
Here is video of her swearing-in. She takes the oath at the one minute mark, at the beginning of the clip.
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