Erica Gilmore makes HerStory:
1st African American, 1st woman Metropolitan Trustee

Newly sworn in Trustee Erica Gilmore with state Sen. Brenda Gilmore (l) and Dr. Katherine Brown (r) at the reception following the ceremony.

Erica Gilmore made her story on August 26 by being sworn in as the first African American and woman to hold the office of Metropolitan Trustee.

In a her historic celebration on the balcony of the Howard Office Building, the celebration was live streamed as she was sworn in by Judge Rachel Bell. County Clerk Brenda Wynn and Erica’s mother, state Sen. Brenda Gilmore, made congratulatory addresses.

“We celebrate the story you are making as the first African American woman to serve this city as Metro Trustee,” said Brenda Wynn, who was the first African American woman to win an election to a constitutional office in the county.

“Last week we recognized the 100-year anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote—but not all women, specifically women of color. Today, however, it’s not lost on me that as we celebrate Women’s Equality Day you take the oath of office, Madam Trustee.

“Women of color hold four of our constitutional offices in Davidson County. Ladies, together, we are making her story!”

Gilmore was joined by her parents, Harry and state Sen. Brenda Gilmore, as she was sworn in by Judge Rachel Bell, General Sessions Court Division 8. Judge Bell, at 34, was the youngest judge to ever be elected to office in Davidson County and is the first openly LGBTQ judge in Nashville/Davidson County.

“I’m excited to be here and to be asked to swear in my good friend, the honorable Erica Gilmore, to serve as the first African American and the first woman as trustee for Davidson County,” she said before administering the Oath of Office. “I’m excited for this day. The future of Nashville will be better with you at the helm of it.”

After the oath, Gilmore addressed the crowd.

“I am tremendously honored to serve as your next Metropolitan Trustee for the city of Nashville and Davidson County in the city where I was born and raised in the Bordeaux neighborhood, on a hill, in Vista Valley.”

Gilmore recalled her public education in Nashville Schools and her high school track coach.

“To this day I can still hear Coach Smith saying: ‘Run the curve Gilmore! Don’t look back! They’re coming for you!’ Anyone who has run track understands what that means. You have to run hard and keep on moving forward and never look back. And so it is with Nashville. We are looking forward and we are not looking back.”

Gilmore pledged that her office would run efficiently and effectively with community engagement, accountability, and transparency being the pillars ensuring a strong partnership with the community.

Erica Gilmore’s address was followed by her mother, state Sen. Brenda Gilmore.

“Today we stand on the shoulders of warriors,” said Sen. Gilmore, “who fought valiantly and honorably for equal rights for all and determined they would not stand on the sidelines: Sojourner Truth, Harriett Tubman, Mary Terrell, Mary Churchwell, Ida B Wells, Barbara Jordan, Shirley Chisohlm and countless other brave Black women—and now, the newly appointed vice presidential candidate for the United States Kamala Harris!”

Sen. Gilmore also talked about the status of women’s rights and the impact of voter suppression on Black females. She also mentioned and thanked many of the African American, female elected officials in Nashville/Davidson County.

“On this day, the day of equality of women, we have much to celebrate in Nashville,” she said. “Black women across the country and in Nashville/ Davidson County are rising and taking their rightful place among all women and men. We celebrate all the firsts.

“Thank you, God, for your favor, and thank you Nashville for voting for these phenomenal women. And thank you Nashville for being so open and progressive by voting for those who are the best qualified and capable. And thank you to the outstanding women for offering themselves for public service. We are proud of all of you and we pray for your success.”

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