It’s a dream come true for Chol Majok, who fled to the United States in 2001.
The former “lost boy” of South Sudan is Syracuse’s 3rd District Common Councilor.
"It took a long time for it to happen, but I'm grateful,” Majok said.
Majok wanted this position since he was young.
"Since the days of my father, the days of my refugee life, the days since I was in foster care, until today,” said Majok. “It's really great being the person to lead the way for other New Americans.”
He became the first former refugee to be in office in Onondaga County, according to the Democratic elections commissioner.
"20 years ago, would we think that this would be possible?” said Garang Ajak, a Syracuse resident in the 3rd District and former South Sudanese refugee. “Definitely not. Because of the human spirit, the will to keep fighting, and fighting, great things are always ahead of time."
"Often times, native born Americans don't have the appreciation refugees have,” said Patti Maxwell, Syracuse resident. “To have someone like Chol, he'll be watching out for us."
Majok says his past experiences encourage him to push for a promising future, for all.
"Every decision I make, the voices of people that I grew up with, that I came across, that I grew up with, I continue to influence my conscience and push for that equity,” said Majok.
He wants to improve community-police relations, housing and services, as well as create the community he wished growing up.
"I just hope that we come together and really, really help each other out," said Majok.