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Black candidates shinned during election night Tuesday as Democrats picked up key victories in major battleground states, proving progressives can win red states regardless of President Joe Biden’s approval ratings. 

Life has gone full circle for New York City, exonerated “Central Park Five” member and Democrat Yusef Salaam. On election night, Salaam, who ran unopposed, won a New York City Council seat and will now represent a central Harlem district in Upper Manhattan. 

Salaam’s victory comes decades after he and four other Black and Latino men were wrongly convicted of the 1989 rape and beating of a white jogger in Central Park. They would become known as the “Central Park Five” and spend the next seven years behind bars for a crime they never committed. In 2002, their convictions were thrown out after the boys served six to 13 years in prison.  Yusef Salaam was arrested at 15 and spent 7 years behind bars. 

“For me, this means that we can really become our ancestors’ wildest dreams,” Salaam told AP.

New York City wasn’t the only major American city to elect a Black candidate on Election Day 2024.

Celebrity Sightings In Philadelphia - May 22, 2023

Source: Gilbert Carrasquillo / Getty

In Philadelphia, Democrat Cherelle Parker was elected to be the city’s next mayor, making her the first Black woman and first female to ever hold the office.

Parker, who is a former member of the Philadelphia City Council, won her election over Republican candidate David Oh by a pretty wide margin, keeping the streak of Democratic mayors in the city of Philadelphia alive and well. The city hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1952.

Parker has spent the majority of her career in politics. She was a Democratic representative in the Pennsylvania State House from 2005 until 2015, when she was elected to the Philadelphia City Council.

During her election for mayor, Parker ran on community and public safety, as she vowed to restore the “village” that raised her.

“I’m uniquely prepared to make the city the safest, cleanest, greenest big city in the nation with access to economic opportunity for all,” she said.

Voto Latino's 2022 Our Voices Celebration

Source: Jemal Countess / Getty

Voters in Rhode Island also made history as Democrat Gabe Amo beat Republican Gerry Leonard to win Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District seat, making Amo the first Black candidate elected to represent Rhode Island in Congress. 

Before running for Congress, Amo served in the Obama and Biden administrations as the deputy director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. The Wheaton College grad and son of immigrants says he’s grateful but also ready to get to work.

“Undoubtedly, I’m humbled by the real momentous opportunity to serve as the first person of color,” Amo told The Associated Press. “But I didn’t run to make history. I’m going to be a voice for making sure we can restore confidence and trust despite the Republican Party that is rife with chaos.”

Amo also said he plans to fight to protect Social Security and Medicare as well as work to legalize abortion rights nationwide and fight climate change.

“I certainly believe I am part of a generational shift that has been underway before me,” Amo said.

With Black candidates winning the night, Democrats seem poised to keep their momentum going come the general election in 2024.


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Black Candidates Make History As Democrats Win Big On Election Night  was originally published on