Celebrating Black History Month: Local Leader Making History in the Coachella Valley

Kamari Esquerra

Black History Month was created to focus attention on the contributions of African Americans to our nation, and people across the valley are honoring those before us, as well as local leaders still paving the way in our community today. 

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be the first African American mayor in the city of Indio,” said Waymond Fermon, Indio City Council Member. “I still have more work to do, but we have accomplished some great things here in our city and in our valley.”

Born and raised in Indio, Councilmember Waymond Fermon has dedicated his life to public service. A 20-year law enforcement veteran, Fermon became the first black mayor for the city of Indio in 2022. He is known throughout the Coachella and Imperial Valleys for his activism, community outreach, and work in law enforcement and he prides himself on being a role model for the youth in the community.

“We have a small demographic of African American people, however, we have a lot of young, bright, talented kids that are growing up,” said Fermon. “We have a lot of African American folk that are moving into the community, so I think it’s just the collaboration and working and learning from each other is gonna be the way of the future.”

Fermon spearheads an outreach program where troubled and at-risk youth experience first-hand recounts of inmates with hopes of keeping juveniles from entering the incarceration system. A product of his community and a former student-athlete, Fermon is passionate about youth sports and academics and supporting education pipeline programs. 

“I knew that my voice was going to be important to bring folks together in all communities and I’m very proud of being able to do that and also to be a role model for our young black boys and girls that they can go into law enforcement, they can go into politics,” said Fermon.

As the only current African American elected official in the Coachella Valley, Fermon hopes to represent the strides and triumphs African Americans make in our country everyday and inspire the next generation to do the same. 

“We really need to take this time to educate everyone on the contributions of African Americans in our history, not just black boys and girls, but of all races,” said Fermon.

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