By Emily Reyst
Time? She’ll find it. Age? Not relevant. Experience? Well — she’s got it.
Broad College of Business senior Myya Jones (BA Business Management ‘17) picked up her ballots in September of 2016, but it wasn’t until November, on Election Day, when she officially made the decision.
Jones, 22, announced her plans to run for mayor of Detroit in the upcoming 2017 election. A Detroit native and Cass Tech High School graduate, she wants to uncover, promote, and make the resources Detroit has to offer available.
Jones has always wanted to take part in social action, and after she interned in Congress she realized how great the lack of representation was there.
“I hit every single sector when it comes to being young, being a woman, and being black,” said Jones. “I want to make sure that I am stepping up and using my voice to make sure we have representation — to make sure that we’re changing the things we don’t agree with.”
Growing up, Jones’ only role models were women who were widely known on a national scale: Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, Mrs. Martin Luther King, Oprah Winfrey. She wants to be a local figure for girls in her community to look up to.
“It wasn’t until I was older did I know that Shirley Chisholm was the first woman of color to run for president,” said Jones. “Why aren’t these things told to us, and why aren’t they accessible for young women of color to look up to? I really want to make sure little girls can have somebody — if they want to look up to me, if they choose to look up to me — they have the option. It’s important to me because I didn’t have that.”
For Jones, now is the time to take action. “We see every day that people are dying. Tomorrow is never a promise. If you constantly wait and say ‘Oh I’m going to do this tomorrow, I’m going to wait until I’m 30 or 40,’” said Jones. “We don’t need the president to do the work, we need the people that are in the city, states, and other levels, especially congress. We need all areas to be effectively running so we can push greater good in our country in our cities and our states.”
Over the past four years Jones has worked tirelessly to set herself up for success, and her resume seems never-ending: she’s been a Google ambassador, a Congressional intern, president of Black Student Alliance, is a member of Delta Sigma sorority, president of the National Panhellenic Council, has held internships with EY, Visteon, and worked as a student aid at UT Austin. She has been on the MSU Homecoming Court, did ROTC her freshman year, and has participated in five study abroad programs. The list goes on, and her achievements and forthcoming impact on the world were recently recognized by NBC News, as she was included on the network’s national NBCBLK28 list, alongside Chance the Rapper and Claressa Shields (full list can be found on the NBC web site).
Focusing on management and finance, Jones’ business background has allowed her experience needed to make effective decisions if she were to become elected. “As mayor you need to appoint people to different positions. Knowing how to select people and seeing how to bring the best out of people to work as a team, who know how to carry out a vision and better Detroit, are things that are going to help me.”
Among other important policy issues she wants to address, Jones believes public safety, economic development and child welfare are top level issues she wants to tackle.
“These are three things that are lacking in Detroit, as well as many other things, but these are the umbrellas of other issues we have,” said Jones. “I want to make sure the police in the community can get along so we can all work together to make sure our neighborhoods are safe, ensure people understand how to invest, how to budget, and how to prepare for trips to get outside of Detroit. Many people don’t travel outside of Detroit or haven’t travelled outside of Detroit. It’s important for us to know what’s out there in the world to gain experiences, have fun, live life and also bring those things back to our city to help develop it.”
Jones wants to ensure that children aren’t getting left behind as they so often do. With minimal programs and a lack of funding, she wants to provide support outside of the school.
“The mayor doesn’t have control over the schools, but what you can do is implement programming outside of schools through the city that we can have so kids are able to express their creativity and not have to result to gangs or violence, or going to prison,” said Jones.
With her passion and hard work, Myya Jones is working to change the narrative of Detroit, and is setting the bar high for millennials everywhere, urging all of their voices to be heard. Come November 7, 2017, they’ll have their opportunity.
“Nobody can sway me from doing this because if I back down then what the world is going to turn into?” said Jones. “There’s no turning back.”