Stopped for campaigning while Black, candidate turns the tables
Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 4/6/2018, 4:29 p.m.
Jason Wilson was recently elected as the first African America to the Clayton School Board, which is part of the St. Louis area. “This victory is huge,” Wilson told St. Louis Post Dispatch columnist Tony Messenger. “You don’t know what’s going to happen when you’re a candidate, how the voters are going to receive you. I felt like I was getting a lot of yeses as I knocked on doors, but I wasn’t 100 percent sure.” Wilson says he knocked on hundreds of doors, and it seemed to have worked, as he soundly defeated two incumbents. But it wasn’t easy During his campaign, he was stopped at least twice by area cops, who said people were complaining that there was a Black guy going from door to door selling stuff. The first time Wilson, who is a business owner in the area, the police told him he couldn’t go door to door selling things, this before they even asked him what he was doing. Wilson said he told the cops, “You assume I don’t belong here.” And that’s one of the reasons he says he was running to be on the school board, that students of color don’t feel like they belong in the school districts as they are currently designed. For one thing, the students don’t see enough teachers and administrators who look like them. In the county, 27 percent of the students are people of color, while only 6 percent of the staff is the same, according to the Post Dispatch. The second time he was stopped, he videotaped the encounter with two white police officers, and he posted it on Facebook. It created quite a stir, but in the end, it really put his name out there. And here’s the kicker: the district over, a candidate who was an admitted white supremacist ran, and lost, soundly. So bottom line: the Black man won and the Confederate lost.