A total of eight people have qualified to run for mayor of Birmingham in the Aug. 24 elections.
Four of the candidates have drawn far less publicity than the rest, though in combined experience, several of them have decades of service as community activists.
Cerissa Brown has never stood on the sidelines. She has been an active resident of Birmingham for most of her life and said she has used her voice to fight for those in need. She has worked in Blue Cross, Blue Shield customer service for more than 21 years and has applied that experience to servicing those in her community.
She is an advocate for mental health issues, the homeless and providing those searching for employment with equal opportunities for training and availability. She is an entrepreneur and has received a certification in Women’s Entrepreneurship from Cornell University.
Brown said she “finds it an honor to fight for and assist our neighbors experiencing homelessness.”
Brown originally is from Mulga.
Napoleon Gonzalez has filed papers to run for mayor, but BirminghamWatch has been unable to find him to gather information.
Ervin Philemon Hill is running for Birmingham mayor for the second time, having finished seventh in the 2017 election. Hill, who runs a sports management firm, has been active in efforts to bring more Black athletes into sports such as golf and tennis. He has campaigned for a variety of museums to honor various Black groups such as veterans, and is pushing for more entertainment, health and recreation options for each of the city’s nine districts.
In a post on his personal Facebook page dated Aug. 2, Hill criticized the Birmingham City Council for offering concert tickets to residents as part of an effort to get residents to receive COVID vaccines. “Spreading misinformation to our people should be illegal. Using fear against our people should be illegal,” Hill stated. “The misinformation in this instance: 1. The vaccine will prevent adults from spreading the Delta variant to unvaccinated children. 2. The vaccine will prevent adults from contracting the Delta variant.”
Darryl Williams is an activist who has had experience in politics for decades, but this the first time that he has run for office.
Williams told the Birmingham Business Journal that he wants to spread the city’s resources into poorer neighborhoods and away from the Downtown-Uptown corridor, starting with better funding for schools. In particular, he wants to focus on teaching trades in schools again, as well as providing grants for students who learn those trades to go into business for themselves.
Better education and opportunities also would help reduce Birmingham’s crime problem, Williams said.
Williams also wants to target waste in city government. “I want to get rid of the waste at city hall. I could do the same thing with 40 people that they do with 100,” he told the Journal.
In an interview with WVTM-13, Williams also said there should be a change in leadership at the Birmingham Police Department, and more effort should be given to getting stolen firearms off the streets. He also advocated legalization of marijuana.