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Community applauds first black school board member, hopes for more

Posted at 10:59 PM, Nov 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-07 22:59:51-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. Gwyn Gittens, Lee County’s first black school board member said she has a lot of work ahead of her and supporters are looking forward to this being the first of many elected people of color in Southwest Florida.

“So many people have said it's time,” Gittens said thanking her supporters for voting her into office.

She’s just weeks away from representing District 5 schools and said now she can lead the way for all students who look like her.

“I hope that I am an example not only to the younger ones, but to the older ones as well, that we have an opportunity. And when you see someone that looks like you in a position you realize, oh I can do that too,” she said.

Proud of the historical moment, but wary, NAACP political action chair Fred Morgan said there's a long way to go for equal representation for Lee County Schools.

“Our school district right now is 60 percent minority students. 60 percent! Our school board is not made up of 60 percent minorities and 40 percent whites, said Morgan.

“To not see anyone that looks like me on these walls, it's heart wrenching,” said GIttens.

She added she looks forward to seeing her face on the wall of school board members. And Morgan said he remains vigilant in his push to elect more school members of color.

“As we move forward especially moving toward 2019 and 2020 we're hoping more and more people realize that their vote does count,” he said.

“Sometimes things are not going to happen overnight. And sometimes some of the  battles that we may fight, we may not win today, but just like this one. It took us 129 years and here we are,” said Gittens.

Gittens is scheduled to officially take her seat on the school board on November 20th.