‘I just kicked down the box’: Triumphant swearing-in shows the power of second chances | Opinion

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Charlotte Observer on 12/5/2023 by Paige Masten

Tiawana Brown speaks during the Swearing-in Ceremony for Charlotte City Council at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center in Charlotte, N.C., on Monday, December 4, 2023. KHADEJEH NIKOUYEH Knikouyeh@charlotteobserver.com

Tiawana Brown stood at the center of the dais, surrounded by friends, family and her 10 new colleagues on Charlotte City Council.

Clad in a glittery dress, her voice rose above the rest as the new council took the oath of office together.

“I, Tiawana Brown, do solemnly swear …”

It was a big moment for Brown, who on Monday night officially became the first formerly incarcerated person to serve on Charlotte City Council. She is now the newest representative of District 3, the west Charlotte community in which she was born and raised.

The significance of the moment wasn’t lost on her.

“As most of you may know, I am a formerly incarcerated individual,” Brown said in her first remarks from the dais. “And for a long time, we were called convicts, felons, inmates … This position is a gift from God that I don’t take lightly.”

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