Jamaican Woman Makes History as First Female & Black Mayor in this Maryland City

Phelecia Nembhard made history on several fronts when she was elected mayor of New Carrollton, Maryland, in June 2020. She’s the city’s first female, the first person of color, and the youngest individual to serve in that capacity. She plans to use her platform to continue the conversation about racism and policing within the city. Mayor Nembhard is also committed to the youth of the city.

Nembhard has a history of public service. She began working to address hunger in the school system since she moved to the area in 1998 and it was an issue that resonated with area parents. In 2018, she was a write-in candidate by the parents of the schools she served and was elected to serve on the city council. Those same parents made it known that she had their support if she wanted to run for mayor.

The new mayor is originally from Whitfield Town, Kingston, Jamaica. She attended the University of the West Indies (UWI), earning a degree in Management and Accounting. She was recognized as Student of the Year at UWI in 1996. Shortly thereafter, Nembhard migrated to the U.S. and took a position at Citizen Bank, that’s now known as Sun Trust Bank. From there, she worked as regional manager at Presidential Bank.

Some of her priorities as mayor include resources for seniors, boys and girls clubs, improving infrastructure, updating the city’s vehicles, and police reform. Nembhard has no plans to defund police and is working closely with the police department to launch a community resource officer program. She also plans to enlist officials trained in mental health to work with police when that type of social intervention in required.

Once known as Carrollton, MD, the city’s name was changed to New Carrollton on May 2, 1966. The city’s population of 12,135, as per the 2010 U.S. Census, is approximately 60 percent African-American.

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