A Historic Win for Charlotte, NC Open's Eyes To Long Lasting Prejudice

A Historic Win for Charlotte, NC Open's Eyes To Long Lasting Prejudice

Vi Lyles wins recent election becoming the city's first African American mayor

Vi Lyles made history in Charlotte on the 7th of November by being elected as the city's first African American mayor. With 59% of the vote, she defeated Republican Kenny Smith who received 41% of votes. This is yet another win for Democrats in Charlotte, where Democrats have won five back to back mayoral races, ending with Pat McCrory.

According to her website, Lyles mother Mary was a teacher and her father Robert owns a construction company. Growing up in Columbia, South Carolina, she thought that by moving to a big city, she wouldn't face the same type of racism and discrimination she did back home. Unfortunately, Charlotte was no different at the time, and this inspired her to work towards creating a better living environment for everyone.

With 30 years of experience in city government and public service in Charlotte, her list of accomplishments include working for underrepresented neighborhoods and increasing investment towards affordable housing. Lyles received her Bachelor of Arts in political science from Queens University and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Masters of Public Administration.


Lyles' win is a huge step towards a more inclusive and progressive Charlotte. Being the largest city in North Carolina, it is becoming more and more diverse every day. The large population of minorities in Charlotte have not had much representation throughout the years, so seeing a woman of color take on such an important role will have a huge impact in the community. Better representation means better laws for those forgotten, and more importance on issues that other mayors wouldn't have really thought about.

Personally, her win means a lot to me for various reasons. Being a woman and a minority myself, I look up to her because she was able to overcome barriers I familiar with. I am usually the only Hispanic in most of my classes, and truthfully sometimes it is a little intimidating. Also, I am studying political science and I know that it is hard for women to be in politics because we are underestimated, even if we are just as qualified as a man applying for the same job (take the case of Hillary Clinton). Representation really does matter, and when we see someone who looks like us achieve their dreams, it shows us that anything is possible through hard work.

Vi Lyles's win was just one of several historic wins across the country in Tuesday night's elections. In Minneapolis, Andrea Jenkins became the first open transgender person of color to win a seat in the city's council. In Hoboken, New Jersey, Ravinder Bhalla was elected as the city's first Sikh mayor and in Seattle, Jenny Durkan won as the city's first lesbian mayor.


Cover Image Credit: Google

Popular Right Now

Millennials Should Not Be Ignored

Our generation is speaking out, and people need to listen.

In today's society, millennials are often being ignored. We are characterized as "too young" or "too naive". But has anyone ever stopped and thought about how we as millennials may actually have more knowledge on today's issues?

Think about it: the majority of us get a quality education, most at least have a high school diploma or GED. Speaking from personal experience, I know that education is getting more and more complex as the years go on: My parents stopped being able to help me with math and science when I turned 10, and they both have college degrees. Our young minds are being exposed to so much more than other people have ever had the opportunity to access before.

We are also the generation who has been completely submerged in technology. Most of us don't remember a life without a computer, cell phone, or the internet. Generations before us haven't had the opportunity to completely live in a world full of technology and all it has to offer, and that gives us a huge advantage.

We understand how technology works and how useful it can be, as we don't know life any other way. For the first time, we are able to find out information about anything at literally any moment. We are able to connect with people all over the world and find out news the second it happens. Ignoring our knowledge of such a useful resource is not only stupid, but also damaging to everyone's futures.

Something I find completely ridiculous about generations before us is how ignorant they are of millennials, and the experience that we have with all of these current issues in our society.

So, let's talk about gun control.

Now everyone is entitled to their own opinions about gun control and what kinds of regulations we should have, but was I find baffling is how inconsiderate the government, the NRA, and older generations are being towards millennials. WE are the one's who have to watch our friends and peers be shot and killed. WE are the one's who have to practice 'shooter drills' in our schools now because of how normal shootings are becoming.

WE are the one's that are face to face with this reality of school shootings way too often. And what I don't understand is how the government and NRA have the audacity to say that we as students are uninformed, or naive, etc. We are the only one's who completely understand this issue. Honestly, I shouldn't even be including myself, because I have been fortunate enough to not have to experience such a tragedy within my lifetime. But I stand with those who have, as I am a millennial who's opinion is being ignored, and it needs to stop.

We need to be heard.

Our voices are stronger than ever before.

And we demand change.

But shifting off the topic of gun control, our opinion matters no matter what the issue. We are living in a period of activism, and millennials are the head of it. We want change, not just because activism is "trendy" or "current", but because we want to change the world that we are going to live in and that our children will grow up in.

We don't want to fear about school shootings, climate change, pollution, etc in our lifetimes, much less in our children's lifetimes. The generations before us have destroyed our world, and Millennials all over the world are trying to fix it. We are reshaping our world so that we will enjoy living in it.

So, To Whoever It May Concern,

Please do not ignore us. We are a lot more powerful than you think. I, and millennials around me, want to fix this world so that it doesn't crash and burn, but rather becomes better than it's ever been before. Don't ignore our opinions because we are younger, or don't quite have our degrees. We are more powerful than this world thinks.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

The 'Blue Wave:' Contender or Pretender?

Democrats and the media claim of a rising "blue wave" in response to the Trump Administration; is this a fallacy or something to watch out for?

On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump was named President of the United States, and parts of the country seemed to honestly go up in flames. Ever since, critics in the media have been rampant and insanely fastidious on what he does right and wrong. Overall, this coverage and the overall feeling about the President seem to be pretty negative. In reaction to this, political scientists and politicians have been monitoring and predicting a “blue wave.” So what exactly is blue wave? Is it even important or just a speculation?

In 2017, it became a real shock to many people that a Democratic Senator was elected to Congress—Doug Jones, whose opponent Roy Moore was accused of sexual assault with a minor and upon losing, took forever to officially concede. Now, in the eyes of the Senate, Alabama was no longer that reliably deep red state; it was split half-and-half.

In early 2018, about a week or so ago, it was considered a huge win for Democrat Linda Belcher in defeating opponent Rebecca Johnson in a special election in Bullitt County, Kentucky. Also, back home, there have recently been other elections recently in which Democrats did not win, but became narrowly close to winning. So what? So what: these counties in which Democrats have been making ground were runaways for President Trump in 2016.

In both of these states, Trump won by a large margin, as both states are considered safe red states. But now, there seems to be a little bit of uncertainty in each about political ground and where exactly the state stands. This is where the theory of a blue wave comes in. With lower polling numbers reflecting popularity of President Trump and other members in Congress of the Republican Party, the thought is that more and more moderates or people fed up with the Republican Party and President Trump are going to start voting for people of the Democratic Party. This theory sounds great in all, as do a lot of things on paper. But it is important to do further digging and examination of this, especially if it is going to be a pivoting line for Democrats to use in hopes of being voted in.

First of all, before even looking at specific cases of Alabama and Kentucky, think about the very theory behind such a phrase. Sure, political parties are pretty polarized as it is and seem to be doing nothing except continuing that process. But the very notion of a blue wave comes from people only needing to see the “-D” next to a name on a ballot. It requires no further education of a candidate and alienates the other side just because they are associated with that side. If you’re looking to really seek revenge on that side or you have the thought that every person in one party really is the same as the leading cronies of it, I suppose that makes sense. But a lot of times, members are different from their overall party and the representation at the top. Civic engagement is also incredibly important to keep up with; glancing at a name and their affiliation can lead to some serious problems. If all Republicans all thought and agreed on the same things, Independents would probably no longer be an exception but rather be seriously involved in the fight for office. Not to mention, if all Republicans are the same, then why are there so many inner-party conflicts between different branches of conservatism as well as with the President? Not all Democrats agree on the same things and preach the same things. Politicians are still people with different thoughts and ideas; alienating them to a simple phrase or one theory can prove to be really reckless.

Now, with personal examination towards the cases of Alabama and Kentucky: Let’s start with Alabama. When the news escaped that a potential sexual assailant was running for office, it became national news and caught the attention of millions of people. Even then, Moore still had a shot at winning the seat. When the final numbers came out, the amount of people who refused to vote Democrat but refused to vote for Moore was right around the magic number that would have given Moore the race. It was not the fury of citizens in Alabama from the Trump presidency or how fed up they were with Republicans that gave Dems this win—It was the fact that Doug Jones is not Roy Moore.

In Kentucky, it made news in other states as well that a Democrat won a district that Trump initially ran away with. It seems odd hearing that Democrats are being elected in good old Kentucky where the state has, historically, almost always leaned on the side of conservatism. However, Linda Belcher, winner of that district, previously had the seat and won it back. She was not a newcomer of which people did not already know her and did not have any groundbreaking methods or stances of getting into office.

Trust me: as a registered Democrat, I think it is wonderful that other Democrats are getting elected into office, especially since the majority represent values that I strongly agree with. However, I think that it may make more sense to say that this happens with incidence and time and place rather than with a sweeping movement. I may prove to be wrong in the future, but with these early results, it doesn’t appear like there is this huge anti-Trump movement in the country. Constituents are going to look at their personal representatives and decide based on their stances and what work they have done to help at home rather than if they are a certain party or not. Sure, some people do look for “-R” or other indicators of someone in a party and decide that way. However, for a good amount of people that do vote and care to get out the vote, many of them are at least willing to listen to what a candidate opposing their party has to say.

Cover Image Credit: Lorie Shaull, Wikimedia

Related Content

Facebook Comments