Surrounded by supporters, including his father, longtime politician Curtis McCall Sr., the newest mayor of Cahokia said it’s time to end divisiveness and embrace diversity.
Curtis McCall Jr., 35, was sworn in last week at the Cahokia YMCA as the village’s first black mayor. Among those on hand to help celebrate were his parents and three brothers.
“I don’t know what kind of mayor my son is going to be. That history has yet to be written. But I can tell you he is a beautiful man, a God-fearing man, a man of integrity,” McCall Sr. said.
During the campaign, McCall said there were rumors that divided the village into black and white. He said to move Cahokia forward it will take unity and inclusion of everyone who lives there.
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“If history has taught us one thing, that is ... change is not easy. But when you have a team, it makes it easier. Everyone has a hand in our success or failure,” McCall said. “Times have changed. The world has changed. Cahokia has changed. Cahokia is now a melting pot of different races, religions and nationalities. We need to celebrate our diversity.”
McCall told his supporters that he knows the challenges are many, and though it will take some time to meet them all, “they will be met.”
He told them the streets will be safe; there will be recreational opportunities for youths; current business owners will want to stay and new ones will want to come in because Cahokia will be kept safe and clean.
McCall, who has been a teacher at Cahokia High School, said people are very important to him.
“I have here some children who I see on a daily basis. I am very proud of the young people in the ROTC who are here. Let’s give our children a round of applause,” he said.
McCall promised there would be things to keep the young people occupied and away from the things that can get them into trouble.
Centreville Mayor Marius Jackson, who was re-elected April 7, also was sworn in. He told the crowd he became interested in politics because of the love he has for his community. He said he wanted to make a difference. But he said this election (April 7) was particularly trying. He said he often asked himself whether it was worth it.
“Politics was not an avenue that I thought about early on,” he said. “I didn’t care for politics.”
He thanked his “political big brother and the leader of our organization, Curtis McCall, Sr.” for getting him involved in politics. He, too, credited his victory to his hard-working team.
“Curtis was the first to ask me to run. And he has been by my side ever since then. I am a loyal person. If you mess with Curtis, you mess with me,” Jackson said.
Jackson announced that Police Chief Steve Brown will continue on; the new Cahokia Police Chief will be Lawrence Purcell.
St. Clair County judges Zina Cruise, Jerome Lopinot and Robert Haida administered all of the oaths of office.