*President Barack Obama, during his farewell speech, said “If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself. Show up. Dive in. Persevere.”
Detroit’s Myya D. Jones, 22, has taken the president’s sage advice to heart. She’s running for the mayor of her hometown.
“I have always been interested in civil engagement,” Jones told Detroit’s Metro Times. “But I was turned off from doing politics because we had such a negative stigma around politics in Detroit.”
Now, she hopes to change that narrative, while she changes things in the city she calls home.
Jones has already accomplished quite a lot in her brief time on earth. After having been sexually abused before she was ten years old, she helped raise her five siblings after her mother, who has bipolar disorder, fell into a deep depression.
When she was in ninth grade, Jones found out that the man she thought was her father — a man she hardly knew and had been largely absent in her life — wasn’t her biological father at all. And she later was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
None of that stopped Jones from being accepted into Detroit’s Cass Technical High School, which is known for its rigorous academic curriculum, and later being awarded 18 scholarships to attend Michigan State University, where she’s studying business management. She’s completed an internship on Capital Hill, and has studied abroad in six different countries.
“While I was interning in Congress, I knew this was something I wanted to do. I want to give the voiceless a voice,” Jones says.
Whether she wins or not — and I think Detroit could do a LOT worse than to elect her! — Jones says the process will not have been a waste of time. She plans to share her experience with other young people, to help encourage others to be civically engaged.
As someone else who was born and raised in Detroit, all I can say is…
YOU GO, GIRL! I’m proud of you!