The moment National City Councilmember Marcus Bush took his oath, he brought change to his community.
"Representation is power," Bush said.
Bush was voted into office in November and became the first Afro-Latino, second African American, and first openly LGBTQ councilmember in city history.
He also believes he's among the first bisexual elected officials in the entire county.
"We need to have a government that’s reflective of our society and who we are because we need to have that different representation. We need to have diversity of thought, innovation, creativity and ideas, and you only do that by hearing different perspectives and celebrating our differences in our culture," Bush said.
Bush is the son of a Mexican-American mother and Black father, and has a wife who was born and raised in Mexico. He's part of two very strong and vibrant cultures, but says there is no divide when it comes to his pride.
“They’re both part of who I am. I’m not one or the other. I’m Mexican American, I’m Black American. “Blaxican.” Black Chicano. Afro Latino. It’s important for me to be proud of my identity, and also for my kids as well," he said.
Bush and fellow Councilmember Jose Rodriguez were the top two vote getters in the general election, outpacing two incumbents and three other challengers. He appreciates his place in National City's history, and said Black History Month is an important time to celebrate the movers and shakers who came before him.
"Black History Month is about celebrating who I am and who we are as a people, as African Americans, as Black Americans, and our art, our music, our cuisine, and our leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Rosa Parks," Bush said.
H said February is also a great time for reflection.
"It’s also really important to focus on the struggle and how we overcame the struggle and how resilient we are as a people," he explained.
Bush, a National City native, said his first priority as a councilmember is to help his city through the pandemic, especially Blacks, Latinos and other minority groups.
Defeating racism is also on Bush's to-do list. And while he knows it's a tall order, he believes his Afro-Latino background puts him in a unique position to help the city council foster progress.
“Racism is still present in our society today, and those systemic issues are still present, so we have to talk about it. Those are difficult, tough conversations to have, but we have to have them in order to overcome it and move forward," Bush said.
Addressing the region's homelessness crisis and supporting small businesses are also high on Bush's priority list.