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Alachua County School Board elects majority African American women for the first time

The three women say it's time to go to work and 'exemplify what black excellence looks like'
Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 7:39 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Tuesday night was a memorable one for many, especially the African American community.

Leanetta McNealy was re-elected to the Alachua County School Board as a representative of District 4 with 61% of the vote while Diyonne McGraw won Alachua County School Board District 2 race with 52% of the vote. They’re joined by Tina Certain.

With these changes, now three of the five positions on the school board are African American women. That’s a first for Alachua County.

“My heart was full,” McGraw said, “because the people believed. The citizens of Alachua County believed it was time for a change. So, now that the campaign is over, it’s time to go to work. People are tired of hearing people just talk ... they want action.”

Along with her campaign goals of focusing on children’s reading skills, conflict resolution, and career development, McGraw wants to teach the importance of diversity and close the achievement gap in Alachua County. Together with McNealy and Certain, they serve with a powerful message.

“It gives us a chance to exemplify what black excellence looks, like” Certain said. “[To exemplify] what it can be and show that it’s not just a one-off. [To show] that the process works and we’re all part of it. It’s our process. The government belongs to us ... and it’s for all of us. We can all be a part of the process.”

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