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Opinion: Diana Becton Becomes First Woman and Person of Color to be Elected 

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Diana Becton. Photo by Joe L. Fisher.
By Pastor Alvin Bernstine
It took nearly 168 years for Contra Costa County to elect a woman and a person of color to the highest ranking elected official in Contra Costa County.  Diana Becton, a Richmond resident, was appointed District Attorney September 17, 2017.On June 5, after a hard-fought, but high-class campaign, she proved victorious. After 168 years of history including systemic sexism and racism, white-male privilege, a bias media medium (East Bay Times) and entrenched national structures of status quo law enforcement, she was elected.

While every county law enforcement association dumped thousands of dollars into negative campaigning in support of the “good old boys’ candidate,” Paul Graves, Diana Becton insisted her campaign would follow the motto of former First Lady, Michelle Obama, “They go low, we go high.”

The people of Contra Costa County, which represents 19 cities, 19 mayors, 19 city councils, and 19 city halls voted for progressive change. Of the 56 California County District Attorneys running for election this year, Diana Becton represents the only successful African-American candidate.

According to a study conducted by the Center for Technology and Civic Life, it is mindboggling to note that in America in 2018:

  • 95 percent of elected prosecutors are white;
  • 79 percent white men; three in five states have no black elected prosecutors;
  • 14 states have no elected prosecutors at all;
  • just one percent of elected prosecutors are women.

The Post takes great pride in having been the only local paper to endorse Diana Becton, a retired judge of 22 years, civic activist, Christian minister, and Democratic progressive.

Her former pastor, Pastor-Emeritus Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr., of Allen Temple in Oakland shared these words: “She grew up in East Oakland. Her parents were strong Christians in Allen Temple Baptist Church, who modeled humility, hard work, and a hunger for the highest and best.

“They poured into Diana integrity, tenacity, resilience, and a love for the disinherited.  They held my arms in my years as pastor. Let us support Diana at a time when American justice is sleeping.”

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