Aja Brown, 31, was just named the mayor of Compton, Calif., in a special runoff election on Tuesday, June 4. The Los Angeles Times reports that Brown, an African-American urban planner and graduate of the University of South Carolina, was up against Omar Bradley, a former two-term mayor and leading political figure in Compton.
Analysts credit Brown's victory to the community's desire to see a new face in City Hall after Bradley was convicted of misappropriating public funds in 2004.
Although Bradley retained a core base of committed supporters who believed that he had been unfairly targeted, Brown rallied younger voters and residents who saw Bradley as part of a long-standing culture of corruption and nepotism at City Hall.
Brown supporters gathered at La Quinta Real Restaurant on Compton Boulevard blew noisemakers and shouted, "Happy New Year! Happy New Compton!" as the results came in Tuesday night.
"I believe the people of Compton are ready for change," Brown said. "They've spoken. Their voice has clearly been heard that they don't want to go backward. They want to go forward."
Shannon Phillips, 44, met Brown through their church, Faith Inspirational Missionary Baptist Church, where Brown and her husband lead a youth group. Phillips, a lifelong Compton resident, said she believes that Brown will be able to help the city's youth after seeing how she had been able to reach Phillips' own teenage son.
"She's going to be the best thing to happen to Compton," Phillips said. "We've had a lot of disappointments. I think she's going to be the one to make change."
Read more at the Los Angeles Times.