Meet the 11 Women of Color Who Made History on Election Day

Trailblazing Elects
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Vi Lyles was elected as the first African American female mayor of Charlotte,  North Carolina. Having worked for the City of Charlotte for 30 years, she previously served as the mayor pro tem and as a member of Charlotte City Council. She attended Queens University of Charlotte and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Meet the 11 Women of Color Who Made History on Election Day
Vi Lyles, Mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina

Vi Lyles was elected as the first African American female mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina. Having worked for the City of Charlotte for 30 years, she previously served as the mayor pro tem and as a member of Charlotte City Council. She attended Queens University of Charlotte and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Andrea Jenkins was elected as the first openly transgender woman of color to be elected to public office. She previously served as the policy aide to Robert Lilligren and Elizabeth Glidden. Jenkins is also an award-winning poet, writer, and advocate for transgender equality.
Meet the 11 Women of Color Who Made History on Election Day
Andrea Jenkins, Minneapolis, Minnesota City Council

Andrea Jenkins was elected as the first openly transgender woman of color to be elected to public office. She previously served as the policy aide to Robert Lilligren and Elizabeth Glidden. Jenkins is also an award-winning poet, writer, and advocate for transgender equality.

Elizabeth Guzman was elected as one of the first Latinas to hold a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. She previously served as the Division Chief for Administrative Services for the Center for Adult Services for the City of Alexandria. As a native or Peru, Guzman has been a longtime advocate for the Latin community.
Meet the 11 Women of Color Who Made History on Election Day
Elizabeth Guzman, Virginia House of Delegates

Elizabeth Guzman was elected as one of the first Latinas to hold a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. She previously served as the Division Chief for Administrative Services for the Center for Adult Services for the City of Alexandria. As a native or Peru, Guzman has been a longtime advocate for the Latin community.

Cathy Murillo was elected as the first Latina mayor of Santa Barbara California. She previously served as a member of the Santa Barbara City Council, where she lead on the Finance Committee and most recently on the Ordinance Committee.
Meet the 11 Women of Color Who Made History on Election Day
Cathy Murillo, Mayor of Santa Barbara, California

Cathy Murillo was elected as the first Latina mayor of Santa Barbara California. She previously served as a member of the Santa Barbara City Council, where she lead on the Finance Committee and most recently on the Ordinance Committee.

Kathy Tran was elected as the first Asian-American woman to hold a seat in Virginia's House of Delegates. She worked with the U.S. Department of Labor for 12 years, leading as the Acting Administrator for the Office of Workforce Investment and the Director of the Division of Policy, Legislation, and Regulation. She also worked with the National Immigration Forum, where she assisted in developing policies that would help immigrants more opportunities to learn the skills and have access to the resources needed to be successful in the workforce.
Meet the 11 Women of Color Who Made History on Election Day
Kathy Tran, Virginia House of Delegates

Kathy Tran was elected as the first Asian-American woman to hold a seat in Virginia's House of Delegates. She worked with the U.S. Department of Labor for 12 years, leading as the Acting Administrator for the Office of Workforce Investment and the Director of the Division of Policy, Legislation, and Regulation. She also worked with the National Immigration Forum, where she assisted in developing policies that would help immigrants more opportunities to learn the skills and have access to the resources needed to be successful in the workforce.

Hala Ayala was elected as one of the first Latina women to hold a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. She previously served as a cybersecurity specialist for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and is an advocate for women's rights, equal-pay, education and affordable healthcare.
Meet the 11 Women of Color Who Made History on Election Day
Hala Ayala, Virginia House of Delegates

Hala Ayala was elected as one of the first Latina women to hold a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. She previously served as a cybersecurity specialist for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and is an advocate for women's rights, equal-pay, education and affordable healthcare.

Janet Diaz was elected as the first Latina member of the Lancaster, Pennsylvania  City Council. She serves as a Stroke Registrar Medical Analyst and Cardiac Quality Specialist. She became more involved with politics after becoming a member of the Lancaster Democratic Latino Caucus.
Meet the 11 Women of Color Who Made History on Election Day
Janet Diaz, Lancaster, Pennsylvania City Council

Janet Diaz was elected as the first Latina member of the Lancaster, Pennsylvania City Council. She serves as a Stroke Registrar Medical Analyst and Cardiac Quality Specialist. She became more involved with politics after becoming a member of the Lancaster Democratic Latino Caucus.

Mary Parham-Copelan was elected as Milledgeville, Georgia's first African American woman mayor. She is also the founder and CEO of Word of Life Interdenominational Bible Church. Parham-Copelan intends to advocate for education and economic growth in Milledgeville.
Meet the 11 Women of Color Who Made History on Election Day
Mary Parham-Copelan, Mayor of Milledgeville, Georgia

Mary Parham-Copelan was elected as Milledgeville, Georgia's first African American woman mayor. She is also the founder and CEO of Word of Life Interdenominational Bible Church. Parham-Copelan intends to advocate for education and economic growth in Milledgeville.

Mazahir Salih was elected as the first Sudanese-American to hold a seat in the Iowa City Council. She serves as the president of the Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa. Her main goal for her tenure is to advocate for affordable housing and affordable transportation for low-income workers.
Meet the 11 Women of Color Who Made History on Election Day
Mazahir Salih, Iowa City Council

Mazahir Salih was elected as the first Sudanese-American to hold a seat in the Iowa City Council. She serves as the president of the Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa. Her main goal for her tenure is to advocate for affordable housing and affordable transportation for low-income workers.

Sheila Oliver was elected as New Jersey's first African American woman lieutenant governor. She was previously the first Black woman elected as New Jersey's Assembly speaker, and the second Black female speaker in U.S. history, according to the Huffington Post.
Meet the 11 Women of Color Who Made History on Election Day
Sheila Oliver, Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey

Sheila Oliver was elected as New Jersey's first African American woman lieutenant governor. She was previously the first Black woman elected as New Jersey's Assembly speaker, and the second Black female speaker in U.S. history, according to the Huffington Post.

Yvonne Spicer was elected as the first mayor of Framingham, Massachusetts. After voting the town to become a city in April, residents were then able to elect a mayor and city council representatives. Spicer is originally from Brooklyn, New York, and moved to Framingham to teach in 1985. She worked for 16 years in education and also worked as an education executive at the Museum of Science, Boston.
Meet the 11 Women of Color Who Made History on Election Day
Yvonne Spicer, Mayor of Framingham, Massachusetts.

Yvonne Spicer was elected as the first mayor of Framingham, Massachusetts. After voting the town to become a city in April, residents were then able to elect a mayor and city council representatives. Spicer is originally from Brooklyn, New York, and moved to Framingham to teach in 1985. She worked for 16 years in education and also worked as an education executive at the Museum of Science, Boston.

Election Day 2017 saw a wave of diverse candidates, and more importantly, winners. Among them included more people of color and more LGBT individuals which is a testament to the role that progressive officials will hold in the coming years. Women of color also saw success in this election, including Charlotte, North Carolina’s Vi Lyles becoming the first African American woman to be elected mayor and Andrea Jenkins as the first transgender woman of color elected to public office.

Learn more about these trailblazing women by viewing the gallery.

Kesi Felton

Communications Intern

Kési Felton is a junior Journalism major from Atlanta, Georgia.She currently serves as the Content Director for Her Campus Howard and the Director of Communications for the Howard University Student Association. In addition to writing her own personal blog, she has written articles for The Hilltop, Walker's Legacy and Pretty Girls Sweat, LLC. Through digital storytelling, Kési hopes to amplify the voices and stories of underrepresented communities, beginning with Black women.

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