When most of us hear the term “strong black women” the first thing that comes to mind is our grannies, or our mothers, sisters, aunties, friends, and neighbors. The rest of us might think about Harriett Tubman, Rosa Parks, Mary Kenner, Coretta Scott King, Ida B. Wells, Oprah, and Michelle Obama, among many others. Regardless of who you picture in your mind, you always think about their strength and resilience. You picture them not only holding their families together but also their communities. Black women are the glue and backbones of their families and communities.
Black women have held together families and communities for centuries, so why aren’t there more black women in charge of governmental offices? Additionally, statistically speaking, the mayor of St. Martinville should be a black woman. There are slightly over 6,000 residents in the town, and almost 63% of those residents are black, and for every 80 men there are 100 women. Why would a mayor who doesn’t represent the majority of the population ever be elected to office?
Who cares more about the children or the elderly than a woman? It’s the women who births, guides, teaches, loves, and nurtures their children. It’s the women who cares about a child’s education, and 25% of St. Martinville are children under the age of 18. A female mayor would push for more excellence within the school system, while men push for better sports equipment; not to say sports are not important, but the focus has to be divided in order to succeed. Those over 65 years of age make up another almost 16% of the population, and it’s typically the women that takes care of her elderly parents, aunties, cousins, or just neighbors. Again, why isn’t a mayor who is naturally concerned about the youth and elderly in office?
Small towns don’t have a lot of funding, and a mayor must be creative to ensure needed projects are completed to improve the town. Who, other than a black woman can create a good meal for 20 people on $7? We all know how to shop around and save a few bucks here and there. St. Martinville’s economy is fueled by sugar cane, crawfish (about 22 million lbs come from St. Martin Parish yearly), and tourism. Some tourism was lost due to flooding—nobody wants to visit and have to fear being stuck in a massive flood. Not to negate the work of Mayor Nelson, but he’s had twelve years to fix the drainage systems, and people’s lives depend on a fully-functioning drainage system. Why not elect somebody that cares about basic safety issues?
Once again, the majority in St. Martinville are black women, so vote for somebody who actually represents the majority. Things may be okay with the current mayor, but is okay ever really good enough? Twelve years is long enough to get comfortable, and one seems to coast, not thrive, when they are comfortable. “Let’s not just survive, let’s thrive” Says new mayor candidate Melinda “Mel” Narcisse-Mitchell. It’s time to strive for excellence! It’s time to think about the future of your kids, grandkids, and the many generations to follow. Think about Harriett Tubman and Rosa Parks, and think about what a strong black woman could do for the town of St. Martinville. Black women have done so much for their homes, families, neighbors, and entire communities for centuries. It is time realize that things can and will be better!
Lastly, having a strong black woman as major will help get community needs addressed and accomplished; however, the mayor can’t fix or improve the entire community singlehandedly. Everyone should take pride in their town and their block, and pitch in to help. It’d be easier to do better and achieve greatness with great leadership in the mayor’s office. That great leadership can be found in a strong black woman!
Cities like New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and of course Atlanta have elected black women as their mayor. Will St. Martinville do the same? Are the citizens of this small historic town ready to exercise their voting rights to bring about a great change? We shall find out this weekend during the runoff between Melinda “Mel” Narcisse-Mitchelle and current mayor Thomas Nelson.
Mel is a native of St. Martinville, married, and mother of 3. She is also a graduate of St. Martinville Senior High and Devry University where she earned a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration. Mel is currently attending Keller’s Graduate School of Management in pursuit of a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. She has been in the governmental field for over 10 years and the educational field for 5 years.
Mel is a Dedicated of volunteer to the following:
African American Museum (Board Member)
American Cancer Society “Relay For Life” Volunteer
House of Love Ministry (Secretary)
St. Martinville Kiwanis Club (Secretary)
United Way “Day of Action” Volunteer
UM: Why is it important for you as a black woman to run for mayor of St. Martinville, LA.
As a black woman, I believe it is important for me to run for mayor in the City of Saint Martinville because I see myself as part of the solution. I want to fix what has been broken in our historic city. We need the diverse perspective of women in government offices. As anAfrican American female, my life experiences are unique. I will represent the views and values in government.
I was born and raised in St Martinville. I have family and friends residing in St Martinville. I feel as an African American woman I owe it to my family, neighbors, and community to work toward the potential of this town. I am compassionate about the people. All people are important to me and my voice matters. I will use this voice to speak for all people.
UM: What are your top 3 goals once elected as mayor?
My top three goals once elected for mayor are:
1. BUSINESS & ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, employing millions of Americans. My goal is to strengthen and foster small businesses and entrepreneurship to help the citizens of Saint Martinville. I plan to work with local business owners to encourage investments. This process will help to build more businesses and create jobs in Saint Martinville.
2. COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
Building Community Development is the process of people working together to improve the community economically, socially, culturally and environmentally. My goal is to bring extracurricular activities for youths and elders. I plan to promote safe and secured neighborhoods for all citizens of Saint Martinville. A prosperous and sustainable community is only as healthy as its core.
St Martinville is a small town with lots to offer. I will encourage local and state agencies to promote Health, Well Being, and Nutrition fairs for our citizens. My goal is all of us working together to build a prosperous, sustainable, healthy community we can all be proud to call home.
Good health plays an important role in the lives of all citizens. My goals are to enforce health safety, build proper drainage and safe roadways for everyone in Saint Martinville. My plans are to enhance the purification of water for the use of drinking, bathing, and any such thing. Strategic evacuation routes, shelters, and resources will be a top priority in case of emergencies.
UM: New Orleans and Baton Rouge have elected black women as mayor, do you think a small town such as St. Martinville is ready to do the same? And Why?
Yes indeed! St. Martinville is ready and so are the citizens. As a Black Female, I am bringing compassion, honesty, and integrity to a town in much need of an awakening. I come from a history of strong, brave, caring, and compassionate black women. I’m not looking to build bigger jails, or suggest to the people, “lets just keep things like they are”. I want to see citizens build new homes, I want change and I will work for change. As a Black Woman I am a builder. I build, not destroy. I am not afraid of change, and I am not afraid of facing up to anything getting in the way of the growth of this important town. As a black female, I understand change is going to come. I understand people change and the needs of people changes. Most importantly, as a black female, I understand the importance of nurturing something and letting it grow. It’s called faith and hope for a brighter future. This is what St Martinville is ready for. This is what I will bring. Therefore, St Martinville is ready for an African American Female Mayor.