It was a historic night at the Mexico City Council meeting Monday when Ayanna Shivers took her position on the council. She is the first African American woman to serve on the council. She is also the first woman to serve on the council in the past seven years.
Shivers said it is not about being black. "It is about diversity," she said. She is proud of the fact it was a diverse group of people who helped her get elected.
The new council member believes the community needs to work together. "We need each other to be successful. It is really important in the times we live in," she said.
But what is more important to the Mexico native, is to make sure people of all ages, color, or gender have a voice in Mexico. "We are more alike than different," she said.
She also wants to be a role model and someone people can look up to. Shivers is excited about her new position and hopes to bring new ideas to the table and is looking forward to working with the other council members to make Mexico a better place to live.
Shivers hopes being elected will get more people involved and that may have already started. Immediately after she was elected she received a message from a person who was interested in getting involved with the parks and might be interested in serving on the park board. She told the person to contact Chad Shoemaker, director of parks and recreation for the city. "This excites me," Shivers said.
Shivers said she feels blessed to have so much support from her family and friends since she has moved back to her hometown. She is a 1990 graduate of Mexico High School. She received a bachelor of arts in journalism-public relations from the University of Oklahoma in 1994; a master's in education in school counseling from the Citadel in 2001; a Ph.D in education from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2008; and a master's in art in theological studies from Liberty University Seminary. In her profession life, Shivers is director of college placement and counseling for the Missouri Military Academy.
She moved back to Mexico in August in 2014 to be close to her family. She immediately became involved in the community. She is on the Bright Futures Mexico board, is founder of a non-profit organization Anointed Life Saving Ministries Inc., is pastor of a church in Montgomery City, participated in Presser Performing Arts production "Into the Woods," and is a lunch buddy for two schools. One lunch buddy was concerned Shivers would not be able to be her buddy after the election. "I assured her she had me until she graduated," Shivers said.
Being part of the community is one reason she ran for city council. "I want to be visible for younger people," Shivers said. She plans to take her job as a public servant seriously. She feels it is her obligation to reach out to everyone in the community. She hopes to attend three to four Mexico events a month. "This may be a lofty goal, but I plan to do my best," she said.
She also invites the community to share her love for Mexico and to show their interest in Mexico.
Support for Shivers was very obvious Monday night when she took the oath of office. The council chambers was packed with her family including her parents Isaac and Jennifer Shivers, her niece, great-niece, nephews, sisters and numerous friends and colleagues who helped her with a successful campaign.