With her praised handling of anti-racism protests, swift action after the death of a black man this weekend and poignant speeches, Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms climbs the odds to become Joe’s running mate Biden and, possibly, the first African American vice president of the United States.
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But, at 50, the one who had said, about the death of George Floyd, “having suffered like a mother”, plays big on the management of the new crisis which shakes Atlanta since the death of Rayshard Brooks, a black man shot dead by a white policeman in his city on Friday
And his lack of national experience could also hamper his chances of being chosen as a running mate by the Democratic candidate for the White House.
Joe Biden, 77, has promised to appoint a woman by August to accompany him in the presidential election to pit him against Donald Trump on November 3.
In the event of victory, she will become the first vice-president of the United States. And in the midst of a historic movement of anti-racist anger, pressure has risen to choose an African-American candidate.
“It is really difficult for me to put aside my own anger and sadness to tell our people what they need to hear because in reality: what can we tell them?” lamented Keisha Lance Bottoms on Sunday evening on CNN.
Not shy about showing her feelings in an interview, the mayor of Atlanta, a southern city that proudly displays her African-American heritage and where a majority of the population is black, spoke of the death of Rayshard Brooks.
As of Saturday, she had announced the “immediate” resignation of the police chief, said she did not think that the fact that he had resisted his arrest justified “the use of lethal force” and called for the immediate dismissal of the policeman who shot.
On the same day, hundreds of people demonstrated in the city, some setting fire to the restaurant in front of which he had been shot. A peaceful march was organized on Monday.
It was after the death of George Floyd, a black man asphyxiated by a white police officer on May 25 in Minneapolis, that Keisha Lance Bottoms was catapulted to the top of the predictions on possible Joe Biden running mate.
As Atlanta, like other American cities, was on fire, she had improvised a startling speech to call on the rioters to return home.
“Above all, I am a mother. The mother of four black children in America, “she said on May 29. “So you’re not going to tell me that you are more worried than me.”
“If you want to change America, go and register to vote (…). You are dishonoring the lives of George Floyd and all those who have been killed in this country. ”
Mayor of Atlanta since 2018, city councilor from 2010 to 2018 after having been an interim judge, Keisha Lance Bottoms does not have the traditional CV of the running mate – often elected members of the American Congress or of the governors – who can boast of her anticipated rivals, like Senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, or Congresswoman Val Demings.
But she is close to Joe Biden and was one of the first mayors of a big city to support him in June 2019.
Recognized soul singer who had played with the Beatles and Elton John, his father, Major Lance, was arrested at their home for possession and sale of cocaine when she was eight years old.
She testified of her pain to see him go handcuffed. And explained that that was also why she supported Joe Biden, who promises to eliminate “racial inequality” from the justice system.
She was also noted for her management of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is hitting the United States especially African-Americans, opposing the deconfinement launched by the Republican governor of his state of Georgia in late April.
“We are dying from COVID-19. We are dying because of police brutality and poverty and lack of access to a quality health system, and because of unemployment, “she told the magazine Vanity Fair in June.
“Our communities say, ‘We want it to change now'”.