ST. LOUIS — It was Juneteenth weekend in St. Louis, and the new mayor was leading the celebrations: She hopscotched from cookouts to charity runs, grooved to classic R&B songs and proclaimed that her city would be among the nation's first to pay reparations to the descendants of enslaved people.
Two weeks later, Tishaura Jones spent a quiet weekend with her family. In the process, she became the first St. Louis mayor in decades to skip the city’s Fourth of July parade, an event long sponsored by a group with a dubious racial record. St. Louis would need to have some “tough conversations,” Jones said, before she felt comfortable joining the party.
The tale of the two weekends in many ways encapsulates the young tenure of St. Louis’s history-making mayor: The 49-year-old unapologetically embraces her Black identity, champions progressive policy ideas long dismissed as fringe and doesn’t seem to mind who she might alienate along the way.