Marvin Rees, a Christian of Afro-Caribbean descent, has been named mayor-elect of Bristol, the former slaving port of England.
Rees, 43, was sworn in Monday into the top city role after winning 68,750 votes to defeat incumbent George Ferguson, who earned 39,557 votes.
Rees is the first person of Afro-Caribbean descent to be directly elected mayor of a major European city, according to Operation Black Vote.
"The symbolism of Marvin winning cannot be overstated. Bristol made its vast wealth in slavery. Slave owners such as Edward Colston have statues and institutions throughout the city,” said Simon Woolley, director of Operation Black Vote.
Bristol was a top city during the slave trade between 1730 and 1745.
Woolley said Rees’s election was a “truly redemptive step.”
Rees grew up poor in a single-parent, but Christian household.
"To me, my story is part of the currency that I bring to the table, my story I hope that people can see that there is a possibility [of hope] ... if you are a single mom at home with your child, wondering how you're going to eat, worrying how you're going to pay the electric bill in a cold flat ... then that's my story,” Rees said.
"I've got to serve the whole population, rich and poor, but I think the bent, the biblical bent, is toward the least of these, and that's what I intend to bring into my policy, " he continued.
Photo courtesy: Wikipedia
Publication date: May 13, 2016