The Greensboro City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 21 was doubly historic.
First, new Councilmember Hugh Holston was sworn in virtually by Greensboro City Clerk Angie Lord. Holston became the first city councilmember to ever be sworn in via Zoom, and Lord became the first city clerk to ever swear in a councilmember virtually.
Second, the moment Holston was sworn into office, for the first time in history the Greensboro City Council had a majority of black city councilmembers and a minority of white city councilmembers.
The City Council on Sept. 14 unanimously voted to appoint Holston to replace former City Councilmember Michelle Kennedy, who resigned to accept the position of director of the Neighborhood Development Department.
The City Council has stated as a goal that all the boards and commissions appointed by the council reflect the demographics of Greensboro. Recently, when it appeared the Citizens’ Redistricting Committee would not have a black female member, the City Council eliminated one of the organizations that had been asked to nominate a member, added a different organization and instructed the consultant to ensure that a black woman was nominated.
However, the City Council itself does not reflect the demographics of the city, and when the council had the opportunity to make the council more reflective of the demographics of the city, it chose not to do so.
There is not a white male on the current City Council even though white males make up about 23 percent of the population of the city. There are also no Hispanics on the City Council despite the fact that Hispanics make up about 8 percent of the population according to US Census data.
But by appointing Holston, the council did bring the gender disparity on the council more in line with the demographics of Greensboro. The City Council was made up of eight women and one man. With Holston’s appointment that doubled the number of men on the City Council, which is currently comprised of two black men, three black women and four white women.