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Council Member Kabir Wins College Park Mayoral Special Election
College Park District 1 City Council member Fazlul Kabir was elected mayor in a special election held on May 6. Kabir will be the first male immigrant to serve as mayor of College Park, and possibly the first Muslim mayor in Maryland’s history.
Results were delayed as mail-in ballots were counted following the election. In the election, Kabir received 1,008 votes while District 1 Council member Kate Kennedy received 469 votes, Mayor Pro Tem Denise Mitchell received 354 votes and local businessman Bryan Haddad received 19 votes.
“It is really, really exciting, so much trust the community has put in me. I didn’t expect that I would be getting so much support. This is fantastic,” the 12-year Council member and incoming mayor told The Diamondback.
Some of the accomplishments Kabir touted during his campaign were his role in the founding of College Park Day, restarting the College Park parade and starting a local newspaper, farmer’s market and community garden. He also advocated for additional funding for local schools and lowered the city’s property tax rates.
Kabir has operated a blog since 2009, which several residents cited as a useful source of information during the mayoral race.
Mitchell served as interim mayor following the resignation of former Mayor Patrick Wojahn for child pornography charges. Mitchell was College Park’s first Black mayor and despite the loss, she retained her seat on the City Council. She will also continue to serve as the President of the Maryland Municipal League, a nonpartisan advocacy group with a goal of strengthening and supporting 157 municipalities across Maryland.
“The best man that the voters chose won,” Mitchell said. “He will do a great job and I look forward to working with him,” Mitchell said.
Bowie Nonprofit Raises Awareness of Traumatic Brain Injuries
On May 13, Tahjai Ward held the annual “Go Gray in May 5K” at the Glenn Dale Community Center.
“My goal is for attendees to learn what traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are and how many of us are affected by it,” she said. Ward survived a brain tumor in 2012 and now teaches in PGCPS.
After stretching while the 2006 Unk hit “Walk It Out” played on speakers, attendees walked and biked from Glenn Dale Community Center to Highbridge Road and back.
The funds raised were for the Maryland Brain Injury Association, with one of the organization’s leaders explaining Ward’s effort is one of few Black-led organizations in Maryland raising awareness of the impact of brain injuries.
Over 50 attendees joined the 5K walk, including Prince George’s County Sheriff John D.B. Carr (D), District 22 Delegate Nicole Williams (D), District 24 Delegate Andrea Harrison (D), former County Councilwoman Leslie Johnson and former NAACP national board member Charnell Ferguson. State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy (D) made the walk in her Howard University shirt and Pumas, and offered a story of how a brain injury from an accident has drastically affected the life of a personal friend.
District 4 County Councilwoman Ingrid Harrison was a platinum sponsor of the event.
“My father, unfortunately, had a seizure in 2003, and doctors found a cancerous brain tumor despite a lack of symptoms,” she said. “I learned so much during his two years of treatment. It’s important to raise awareness of brain injuries, and this is an issue I plan to remain involved in.”
Harrison encouraged regular medical checkups, especially if you feel your equilibrium is off.
The Prince George’s Office of Community Relations was also in attendance. This office serves as the outreach arm for the County Executive, with the goal of connecting citizens to county information and resources.
Pizzas from El Jefe were provided for walkers to enjoy after the walk.