News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thur. May 18, 2023: A Black immigrant has made history in Colorado as he is set to become the first black mayor of Colorado Springs, Colorado’s second largest city that is 67 percent white.
Yemi Mobolade, a black immigrant from Nigeria in West Africa and an independent, easily defeated longtime Republican politician Wayne Williams by 14 points in a Tuesday, May 17th, runoff. He will succeed Republican Mayor John Suthers, who had been in office since 2015. Suthers, the state’s former attorney general, had endorsed Williams. The win in the nonpartisan race is seen by many as an upset for a city that’s long been considered a GOP stronghold; Colorado Springs has never before elected a non-Republican mayor, according to the Gazette.
“This win is for Colorado Springs. It’s for the residents of our city,” Mobolade, a business and church leader with no previous political experience, told Yahoo News. “It’s local, but it also has national implications for a new way politics can be done and our cities across the U.S.”
Mobolade ran an aggressive campaign, which included more than 100 meet-and-greet events and saw campaign volunteers knock on nearly 40,000 doors, according to the campaign. City campaign finance records show Mobolade raised about $770,000 from 1,200 donors, each with an average donation of $395.
Mobolade immigrated to the U.S. in 1996 to follow in his brother’s footsteps of attending college. He later began his career in quality control manufacturing before moving to Colorado Springs in 2010, eventually founding a church, creating several restaurants and a consulting company. He sees each of these investments as ways to build community, which he was able to translate into support for his campaign.
Mobolad believes his immigrant story, in particular escaping what he called “tribalism” back home to instead choose democracy in the U.S., as the biggest reason for his ability to band together an electoral coalition that includes both law enforcement and NAACP community leaders.
“I think there’s a uniqueness of what I bring to the table and why I’ve been so successful at bringing communities and groups together to solve problems,” he said. “I get to channel the empathy of being an outsider and bring that to the mayor’s office and what it means to be inclusive of other ideas, which is also what it means to have democracy — the competition of ideas. This outsider is also looking in and sees nothing but opportunities.”
Mobolade’s journey from Nigeria to the United States embodies the American Dream. With unwavering determination and a commitment to public service, he has risen to a position of influence, becoming a trailblazer for aspiring Black immigrants across the country.
Mobolade’s election sends a powerful message about the importance of representation and the value of diverse voices in decision-making processes. His leadership is expected to bring positive change, foster inclusivity, and bridge the gaps in understanding and support for marginalized communities.
The significance of Yemi Mobolade’s achievement extends far beyond Colorado Springs. It serves as a beacon of hope for Black immigrants nationwide, reminding them that their voices matter and that their contributions can shape the future of their communities.
As an immigrant and independent mayor, Yemi Mobolade stands as a symbol of resilience, determination, and the power of unity. His leadership will undoubtedly inspire others to pursue their dreams, break down barriers, and make a lasting impact in their own journeys toward a brighter and more inclusive future.