(WXYZ) — This Black History Month, we're celebrating individuals who are making history and paving a way forward, like Monique Owens.
Owens, 36, took the oath of office in 2019 to become the first African American woman elected mayor of Eastpointe.
It's a position that comes with great pride for Mayor Owens and an incredible amount of responsibility.
"I didn't grow up in politics; I didn't know a councilperson, I didn't know a mayor," said Mayor Owens. "I grew up and I saw things that I wanted to change in my community. I didn't know how to do that."
So, she studied and learned. Her work began as a member of the Eastpointe City Council.
Mayor Owens said is also very committed to diversity and laying a foundation for young people.
"I created an avenue to make sure that African American kids or minority kids know what I do," she said. "We have to show our faces and let them see that they can do it! But they have to see us in those positions."
Mayor Owens said she wants to see more partnerships in the city of Eastpointe with more businesses, and to continue the culture of inclusivity.
"People look at you differently because you set the standard of all African Americans," she said. "So it's very important to me how I do my job, not just for me, for the next person."
As we all celebrate and honor this Black History Month, Mayor Owens thinks of many things.
"Black History Month means so much to me, and to be now part of Black history, it means even more to me," said Mayor Owens. "Because I’m part of something that people created for us to celebrate. And I’m also part of that celebration. So it just humbles me more, because Black history is not just about the victories that our ancestors went through, it’s about the challenges they faced to get to the victory."