Mexico's first black woman mayor hopes to leave lasting impression
MEXICO - Ayanna Shivers made history on April 8 when the Mexico City Council elected her mayor.
Shivers is the first black woman to hold the position. She is the second black mayor and the second female mayor to be elected since the city was chartered in 1874.
“The bigger thing is that she’s a woman,” Councilwoman Vicki Briggs said.
Briggs said Shivers reminds her of Stacey Abrams, a former Democratic candidate for governor in Georgia.
“She’s very bright and articulate, and she returned to lead her home community,” Briggs said.
Shivers grew up in Mexico, graduating from Mexico High School in 1990 before moving away for college.
“I did what a lot of my classmates at that time would do,” Shivers said. “I turned 18, went off to college and wasn't planning on looking back. About four-and-a-half years ago, I made the decision to return home where family and friends were. I wanted to make a difference.”
She started going to city council meetings, and she immediately noticed something: the makeup of the council didn't represent the community she knew.
“There were no women, and there were no people of color,” she said. “It was a very homogenous group of people, and I said we need to have people that represent the diversity in this area.”
In 2017, Shivers ran for and won a seat on the council. She made history as the first black woman to serve as a councilwoman.
“It gives a picture of Mexico,” Briggs said. “It says that everybody gets a chance here, that when we get people that are capable to lead, they can step up and lead. Everybody has a voice.”
Now, Shivers said she is embracing the platform she'll have for the next year. One of her ideas is to hold monthly lunches with the people of Mexico so they feel comfortable approaching her with the issues they're facing.
Though her term is only for one year, Shivers said her goal is to leave a lasting impact on Mexico.
“The lives that we live and the bridges that we may cross or barriers that we may break aren't necessarily for our own glory,” she said. “It’s for those that are behind us so that they can go further and farther than we ever could dream.”
Shivers’ term lasts until April 2020. Mexico limits mayors to two consecutive terms, so she will still be eligible to serve another term.