Education

Gwinnett Could Elect First Nonwhite School Board Members

Numbers from the school district show 73 percent of the Gwinnett's public school students are Asian, black or Hispanic. Census data shows some 60 percent of all county residents are also of a minority race.
Numbers from the school district show 73 percent of Gwinnett County's public school students are Asian, black or Hispanic. Census data shows some 60 percent of all county residents are also of a minority race.
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Gwinnett County could have its first nonwhite school board members elected this year.

For nearly a decade, Gwinnett has been a majority-minority county, but its school board has remained all white.

Now, four black candidates are running for two different school board seats. Donald May and Wandy Taylor are running as Democrats in Gwinnett’s 2nd District. Everton Blair Jr. and Mark Williams are also running as Democrats but in the county’s 4th District.

Michael Leo Owens, who teaches political science at Emory University, said the race of the candidates vying for a school board seat is representative of the county’s change.

“It’s a clear symbol that Gwinnett County’s demographics not only are changing but have changed,” Owens said. “And that’s important for everyone in Gwinnett County to be clear about.”

Numbers from the school district show 73 percent of the county’s public school students are Asian, black or Hispanic. Census data shows some 60 percent of all county residents are also of a minority race.

Owens said the candidates running also symbolizes something else.

“When you see nonwhite faces appearing in institutions that have for a long time been majority white if not all white, it is the clear sign and indication that the diversification of political local institutions is underway,” he said.

Last year, the first two nonwhite mayors were elected in Gwinnett in Loganville and Norcross.

The primaries for the school board are May 22.