The City Council unanimously elected Councilman Herb Wesson to be the panel’s first Black president on Nov. 23.

Councilman Ed Reyes was chosen to serve as president pro tempore. Both will assume their new posts Jan. 2.

The council chamber was packed with hundreds of high-ranking city officials, council staffers and relatives of the members to witness the historic vote. But the two other Black council members were notably absent were–Jan Perry and Bernard Parks, who have clashed with Wesson in recent weeks over redistricting and the behind-the-scenes process leading to Wesson’s nomination.

“This presidency is not about me. It’s about we. It’s about us,” Wesson said in a chorus he repeated throughout a 15-minute speech accepting the position. “Be assured, I will lead. The question is will you lead with me, and the answer is yes, because I know that you can.”

Wesson said his presidency would be focused on leading the city out of “financial darkness and bring it back into the light.”

Wesson will take over the presidency from Councilman Eric Garcetti, who is running for mayor.

The position of president pro tem, the No. 2-ranking official on the council, became open Nov. 4 when Perry resigned out of “disgust” with what she described as behind-the-scenes maneuvering over redistricting and the council presidency. Perry is also running for mayor.

Wesson, who represents the mid-city area and parts of Koreatown, was elected to the council in 2005, served in the Assembly from 1998-2004 and was its Speaker from 2002-2004.