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Joey Reyes won his election to the district’s Zone One seat Tuesday night. Reyes, the first Latinx man elected to the school board, had his candidacy buoyed by a groundswell of grassroots support.

Following contentious efforts to remove racist Native American symbolism from the Union Public Schools mascot, the need for diversity and representation on the board itself became clear.

Reyes shared endorsements of Union stakeholders from across the district to his campaign’s social media page. One such supporter wrote she believes Reyes will “represent those in our district that are so vastly underrepresented.”

Historic win increases diversity

In a district where more than 4 in 10 students identify as Latinx and 20% do not speak English as their primary language, many feel this moment is long overdue.

Joey and his wife Lindsey run a non-profit organization focused on supporting youth in the foster care system. Together, they have fostered more than 30 youth, many of whom have attended Union Public Schools.

Reyes is an alum of Union and has recently served on the PTA, the mascot committee and various other organizations supporting the district.

Tuesday’s election was razor thin, with Reyes outperforming his opponent, Kasey Magness, by just 24 votes.  Reyes ran on a platform of equity in resources and access for all students in Union Public Schools.  He said his decided to run in order to bring “hope and inspiration” to everyone in the Union community.

Nate Morris moved to the Tulsa area in 2012 and has committed himself to helping build a more equitable and just future for everyone who calls the city home. As a teacher, advocate, community organizer...