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Chatting With: Aja Brown

What comes to mind when you think of Compton, CA? For most, the city is inextricably linked to the violent gangster rap songs that put it on the map in the 1980s. Though times have changed, that infamy has remained. But political newcomer Aja Brown, the city’s newly elected mayor, hopes to rectify things.

“Kids play outside at the park and people jog at night in Compton. It’s definitely a different community,” Brown explains. She should know. Although her grandmother was murdered in the area in the ’70s, Brown, an urban planner, and her husband decided to move back four years ago. After witnessing the stifling local bureaucracy firsthand, the 31-year-old knew she needed to run for office.

“I always said I would never go into politics,” Brown recalls. “But when I saw the need in my city I thought, ‘If not me, then who?’”

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