Newly Elected Georgia Official Takes Oath Of Office Using Malcolm X Autobiography

Newly Elected Georgia Official Takes Oath Of Office Using Malcolm X Autobiography

Mariah Parker took her oath of office as the newly elected  Athens-Clarke County Commissioner wearing a huge Afro, with one hand placed on a copy of Malcolm X’s autobiography and the other holding up in a Black Power fist.

The image took the Internet by storm and went viral overnight.

“They asked if (I) would like the Bible and I said no. My mother asked if there was a copy of the Constitution around. No,” Parker told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I wanted Malcolm’s book. I think they saw it coming.”

A 26-year-old doctoral student in linguistics and a rapper who goes by the name Lingua Franca, the 26-year-old doctoral student said she related to Malcolm X’s journey and personal and political evolution.

Parker has overcome her own struggles with drug abuse and mental health issues to get to where she is today, the Daily Mail reported.

“Having seen the transformation of someone who came through a difficult background to become vocal and push conversations on race in a radical way is powerful,” Parker said.

She added: “Then (Malcolm X) shifted course and saw race in a different lens as he got older. And the fact that he was arguably killed for his politics. These are things that I want to embrace. Malcolm’s willingness to uneditedly speak about Black people at large, are qualities that I want to embody. To speak out when I see things going wrong.”

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Parker won the Athens-Clarke County Commissioner seat by 13 votes after running as a progressive.

She said on her campaign website that “it’s time for bold, progressive leadership in Athens.” Her platform is centered around economic causes and racial justice.

“Parker’s platform includes tackling economic justice, reducing poverty and discrimination, affordable housing, fair wage jobs, youth development, criminal justice reform and marijuana reform,” the Independent reported.

Parker now represents a district that has seen its own struggles, especially economic and racial tensions. Athens-Clarke County has recently been in the news for one of its police officers deliberately hitting a black man with his cruiser, The Root reported.

On her website Parker said, “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.”

In interviews following her win, Parker said that she plans to tackle affordable housing and gentrification, particularly pertaining to the University of Georgia.  “The university extracts a lot of resources from this community and doesn’t give back enough,” she said. But Parker said her No. 1 priority is setting aside 30 percent of city contracts for Black- and Latino-owned companies, Flagpole reported.