*There’s a new mayor in Robbins, Illinois, and he’s making history.
Darren Bryant, 29, was sworn in on May 11 in the Cook County village just outside Chicago – home to celebrities such as Dwyane Wade and Keke Palmer – and in doing so became not just the youngest African American mayor to hold office in Robbins, but the entire state of Illinois.
“It’s a surreal moment,” Bryant told “Good Morning America.” “This is the people’s victory more so than mine and I think ‘humbling’ is the best word to describe how I feel right now.”
Robbins is one of the oldest incorporated African American communities in the country. With parents on local school and trustee boards, Bryant grew up around elected officials and has actively been involved in public service since a young age. After serving as student body president before graduating from Kentucky State University in 2014, he went on to become Park District commissioner at 23, then a village trustee at 25, before taking the seat as mayor.
Robbins has a 42% poverty rate, 51.8% rate of homeownership and only 12% of residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Bryant is ready to enact change.
“I’d like to see an increase in home ownership, residential development, economically viable businesses and a village filled with residents living in a town where their quality of life has improved,” Bryant said during a recent interview with Color Coded Voices, a platform that highlights positive news and outstanding stories from communities of color.
Watch Mayor Bryant’s swearing in below: