By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, [email protected]
Representation matters. When Angela Alsobrooks took the oath of office as county executive for Prince George’s County on Dec. 3, she became the first African American woman to do so – an act that made history and served as a major inspiration for women who look like her.
Megan Atkinson, who danced at the inaugural gala, described the magic of the evening used to celebrate Alsobrooks’ new role. She also explained the Black Girl Magic that is Angela Alsobrooks, and that Alsobrooks is spreading throughout Prince George’s County with her new appointment.
“As a Black woman from this area, seeing Angela Alsobrooks selected, it was huge for me,” Atkinson told the AFRO. Atkinson said that growing up she never envisioned women, particularly Black women, in powerful political roles, so the inauguration was not only barrier breaking, but groundbreaking in her personal life.
Atkinson, a #GirlBoss in her own right, as a mom, dance instructor and CEO and founder of the liturgical dance group, The Collectif Project, noted that watching Alsobrook’s trajectory has served as an inspiration in her own career and life.
“I met her years ago, when she first got into the limelight. She probably won’t even remember this, but I used to work as a waitress at Old Towne Inn, which was right beside the courthouse in Upper Marlboro, and that’s when I first met her. She was always so sweet and always so humble, but I always knew that there was something about her that kind of connected with me. That I felt like I could look up to her,” Atkinson said.
“She was a rebel. She was always going against the grain, breaking those barriers, breaking those chains. So for me, just seeing her from then to now, is just really an inspiring story. It helps me to know that anything is possible. As long as I take those barriers and those limitations off myself, I can literally do anything that I put my mind to.”
Star Fashoto, a 10th grade student at Northwestern High School where Atkinson teaches, shares her teacher’s sentiments about the new county executive. Even as a young teen, Fashoto noted the historicity of Angela Alsobrook’s new role in relation to the tragic history of Black people in the United States.
“It’s very important for Angela Alsobrooks as the first Black woman because, if you just think about it, we Black people, we have a past. We’ve gone through slavery as people, we’ve made it through the Civil War era and all that. We’ve gained freedom,” Fashoto told the AFRO. “And as a woman, many things in politics or in the White House and Congress, they’re all dominated by mostly White men, so having a woman in [politics] is good – but even better is a Black woman – because it’s mostly dominated by White people.”
Looking beyond the boundaries Alsobrooks’ new role breaks, Atkinson also pointed out the importance of the county executive remaining true to herself throughout her political journey.
Atkinson and the county executive attend the same church and one of the things she appreciates is that throughout her political career, Alsobrooks has always kept her spirituality and love of God in the forefront.
“A lot of people, once they reach a certain status they forget, or because they want to be accepted, they don’t want to be too churchy or too spiritual. But what I love most about her – the representation of her – [is] none of that altered. She was who she was, before then and she’s still what she is, even now after being elected,” Atkinson said.
“And that is the beauty of Black Girl Magic and being a trailblazer, and setting the tone, and raising the bar and being an example. I really look up to her for that.”