Athens-Clarke County, GA - Newly-elected County Commissioner Mariah Parker took her oath of office on Monday, with a raised "black power" fist and her other hand on the autobiography of Malcolm X.
“They asked if they would like the Bible and I said no. My mother asked if there was a copy of the Constitution around. No,” Parker said, according to AJC. “I wanted Malcolm’s book. I think they saw it coming.”
Parker said that she sees the parallels between herself and Malcolm X. She has struggled with mental health issues and overcame substance abuse, according to AJC.
She is now getting her doctorate in language and literacy education.
“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 told AJC. “Then he 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.”
Parker won by just 13 votes on a platform of racial justice, economic justice, criminal justice reform, marijuana reform, reducing poverty and discrimination, affordable housing, fair wage jobs, and youth development.
Athens-Clarke County was recently in the news after a police officer was fired over accusations of racism when he hit a fugitive with his patrol car.
On June 2, Athens-Clarke Police Officer Saulters was pursuing wanted fugitive Timmy Patmon when his patrol car struck Patmon, causing scrapes and bruises to the fleeing felon.
Officer Saulters' tire had been knocked off of its rim just prior to the impact with Patmon, which occurred as the officer was struggling to control his vehicle. The officer was fired two days later after outrage and cries of racism spread on social media.