Queen Bee Project: Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby on Reclamation, Revitalization, and Renaissance: Notes on Female Insurgence in the Modern Age

By Gabbbie Gonzales

If the New Oxford American Dictionary ever decided to start publishing images in addition to the required linguistic definition for which they are known, Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby’s image would appear right next to word badass: chiefly US, informal a formidably impressive person. While this textbook description of a word which Ashby not only exudes wholeheartedly, but engulfs, would be putting the caliber of the Vice Mayor’s accomplishments lightly– laymen terms fail in the face of a woman generating her own wave in the face of obstacles which threaten to deter her path. Unfortunately for them, they too fail.

Angelique Ashby of Sacramento, CA has been serving as Mayor Pro Tem of the city for just under ten years as of this year. Having never imagined herself in the political sphere, Ashby’s interest was stimulated upon moving into a new community where new parks, roads, and businesses among other novelties were being established. She describes, “I started fighting for things like stop signs, playgrounds, and fire stations. And I really liked representing the community, fighting for what my neighbors wanted, and that just grew into being someone who could fight for things for the city. That’s how I ended up running for city council.” Though her resolve was unintentional, she continues being the only woman on the city council as it currently stands, and views her position as both an honor and surprise as far as her tenure is concerned.

“When I first ran in 2010, in fact, Sacramento, in the 90s, way back before I was around here [Ashby was in high school], Sacramento actually had a majority of women on the council; the mayor was a woman. But over time that number has just dwindled down.” When Ashby was elected ten years ago, she was again, the only woman on the city council– a reluctant catalyst if you will. Now 2020, a decade which has seen the Paycheck Fairness Act, the eradication of the ban against women in military combat positions, Hillary Rodham Clinton secure the the Democratic presidential nomination, the first woman to lead the ticket, and a record number of women in Congress, with 104 female House members and 21 female Senators, has past. Ten years of a movement which can only be regarded as that of female insurgence, of revolution, of history, of glass ceilings broken– the remaining shards still refuse to cease their grasp on the eager wings of women in America.

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