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1st openly gay Black politicians elected to US Congress

1st openly gay Black politicians elected to US Congress
Mondaire Jones (Photo courtesy of Mondaire Jones)

Voters are sending two openly gay Black politicians from New York to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2021.

Ritchie Torres, 32, is a member of the New York City Council, where he has served for the past seven years representing the Bronx borough. He won the primary in New York’s 15th Congressional District in June when he defeated Ruben Diaz Sr., 77.

Mondaire Jones, 33, is an attorney who previously served under former President Barack Obama in the U.S. Department of Justice.

Jones is a certified brainiac who, like Obama, attained his law degree from Harvard University. Before that, he procured an undergraduate degree from Stanford University. He most recently worked in the Westchester County law department before winning the 17th Congressional District race. The district consists of Rockland County as well as parts of Westchester County.

Torres, an Afro-Latino, told Buzzfeed News that he plans to make mental health a priority during his tenure in Congress, telling the publication he struggled with depression in his early 20s.

“The devastation that COVID-19 has wrought on communities like mine is creating a mental health crisis in America, so it does figure prominently in my conversations with constituents,” Torres said.

“Most people find their elected officials to be distant and unapproachable,” Torres added. “And there’s something powerfully humanizing about acknowledging your own struggle with mental health.”

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