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Town of Cheverly to get 1st Black mayor in its 90-year history

Kayce Munyeneh will be sworn into office Thursday after the sudden resignation of Laila Riazi.

CHEVERLY, Md. — Nearly 7,000 people live in the Prince George's County town of Cheverly, Maryland. The community center wall shows pictures of the past mayors. All were white, until the previous mayor, Laila Riazi.

Riazi resigned for personal reasons Monday, handing the mayor’s office to Vice Mayor Kayce Munyeneh, the town’s soon-to-be first Black mayor.

"I am unequivocally Black. It is undeniable. You cannot ignore it but that doesn't keep me from doing whatever I want to do. It makes it a lot harder. Period. If it wasn't so hard I would be the first to have been able to be in this spot," said Munyeneh.

WUSA9 covered lawsuits several years ago alleging harassment, assaults and intimidation by Cheverly Police.

Incoming Mayor Munyeneh has confidence in the new leadership of the Police force. 

"As a council member, I actually authored the Defense of Black Lives Resolution, which creates a community complaints board."

Credit: Becca Knier
Incoming Cheverly Mayor Kayce Munyeneh

Munyeneh also lead the charge to get rid of the slave plantation on Cheverly’s town seal.

RELATED: 'Reckoning needs to take place' | Cheverly Town Council votes to remove plantation from town seal

As Mayor, her first priority will be Cheverly’s aging infrastructure. One large problem for Cheverly is stormwater drainage. When it rains, stormwater comes rushing down streets including Forest Drive and Parkway. Homes are flooded by up to 6 feet of water.

"Help us with some kind of drainage, some kind of place where we can push the water out so it won’t damage people’s houses," said Cheverly resident Christopher Boswell.

Credit: WUSA9
September 2020 flooding in Cheverly, Maryland

Munyeneh will be sworn into office Thursday and plans to run for reelection next year.

"My 'why’ is my 3-year-old son. I want him to be walk through any street in Cheverly and no police officer will pull him over because he’s Black, nobody mistreat him, and nobody treats him like he’s a second-class citizen. Every day I can remember that is a day I can get up at 4 a.m. and get to work," added Munyeneh.

To learn more about Munyeneh, click here.

RELATED: Allegations of sexual misconduct and embezzlement revealed in Cheverly government

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