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A Black woman in the US was elected mayor in the state of Maine in a city with a 90% white population.

Deqa Dhalac, 53, became the first Black Muslim mayor of South Portland, a small city on Maine’s southern coast, on Tuesday.

South Portland’s other city councilors — all white — unanimously voted for Dhalac, who came to the US in 1992 after civil war broke out in Somalia.

According to New American Leaders, a group that trains and supports immigrants, refugees, and other diverse candidates for government positions, Dhalac is the first Somali-American mayor in the US.

“As a Black, immigrant, and Muslim woman who was previously the first Black person and first Muslim elected to the South Portland City Council, Mayor Dhalac is a force for positive change in her community,” the group said on Instagram.

“We couldn’t be more proud to have her in our network of New American elected officials and look forward to all of the amazing things she will accomplish as South Portland Mayor,” it added.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Dhalac said: “People will always have some kind of reservation … but will get to know you, listen to you and see who you are through that.”

Saying that she decided to enter politics against the Islamophobic policies of former US President Donald Trump, Dhalac said she hopes her election will set an example for other minority groups and new generations in the country.

When she was running for City Council elections in 2018, people were afraid to open the door to her when she knocked to ask for their vote, she said, adding that some thought she did not speak English.

She expressed her pride at setting an example to future generations who are in a similar position as she is now.

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