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Black History Month spotlight: San Luis Obispo Mayor Erica Stewart

Posted at 12:25 PM, Feb 28, 2022

As Black History Month comes to an end, KSBY Daybreak Anchor Genelle Padilla sat down with San Luis Obispo Mayor Erica Stewart to hear about her hopes for the city.

Erica Stewart is a name for the history books. As a former councilwoman and now San Luis Obispo mayor, Stewart is navigating an unpaved way for future leaders.

“It's wild. I mean really, in 2018 when I won as the first Black councilperson, I just couldn't believe it. In the City of SLO, we were saying, ‘Oh, go back to the records, make sure. Are you sure’?” Steward said.

While proud of being an example, she wants her accomplishments to transcend race and improve the lives of every person in the community.

"Honestly, when I first ran, I didn't want diversity to be an issue that everyone had to focus on about me. Like, I wanted to be the candidate that people want because of my views and my interest and my ability to listen to people and bring people together,” she said.

One of the city's major goals this year is diversity equity inclusion, bringing on a new task force and point person to make strategic plans for the next couple of years through the city in hopes of bringing different communities together.

"Really, just expanding your knowledge is so important during Black History Month. I think during all of the awareness month, awareness days, awareness weeks, it's about the fact that we need to learn more about each other and we need to normalize who each other are and accept and then grow from there," Stewart said.

She is also a part of Women in the Pipeline for San Luis Obispo County, which empowers women to run for elected positions.