Former South Sudanese refugee wins New York State District Councilor Seat

He was once called a Lost Boy but today, his official title is Councilor-Elect.

Chol Majok won the 3rd District Common Council seat in Syracuse, New York, this week, becoming the first former refugee in city history to do so, according to Onondaga County’s Board of Elections.

“One of the things that I am certain about is when you are not at the table where policy and decisions are being made, you are not counted, you are not part of that narrative,” said Majok.

Majok arrived in Syracuse 18 years ago with other Lost Boys of Sudan — a group of 20,000 boys who were displaced or orphaned during the second Sudanese civil war in which about 2 million were killed. He was 16 years old and anxious to begin building his life.

He lived in foster homes until he turned 18, and although he was there for just two years, he says the conditions he experienced in the system changed his life.

“They are conditions that people in a first world country should not be in. So coupled with where I came from and what I saw, I just wanted something different,” he said.

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