Ryana Parks-Shaw made history on Tuesday when she became the first Black woman appointed mayor pro tem in Kansas City. 

The mayor pro tem is second in command to the mayor and fills in when the mayor cannot serve. With this position, Parks-Shaw continues to serve as the councilwoman for the 5th District.

Mayor Quinton Lucas praised Parks-Shaw for her dedication to Kansas City and her work on homelessness, affordable housing, and violence prevention. Parks-Shaw is also a member of the Kansas City Zoo Board of Directors and the Starlight Board of Directors.

“I am proud to announce Councilwoman Ryana Parks-Shaw will serve as Mayor Pro Tem for the 2023-2027 Kansas City Council term, increasing representation for not only South Kansas City but for all folks who have for too long felt underrepresented within government leadership ranks — particularly Black women,” said Mayor Lucas. “Throughout her first term on the City Council, I knew I could count on Councilwoman Parks-Shaw to help address our community’s toughest issues, which is why I was proud to appoint her Chair of the Kansas City Land Bank and Co-Chair of the Kansas City Health Commission.”

The mayor pro tem position is akin to the mayor’s vice president; Parks-Shaw will chair city council meetings if the mayor cannot attend and would fulfill the duties of mayor if Lucas was unable to serve.  

In the most recent city council election, Parks-Shaw ran unopposed for her seat in the southeast 5th district. She’s a Ruskin High School graduate who earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Missouri State University and a Master of Science degree from Southwest Baptist University. Parks-Shaw and her family have lived in the fifth district for over 20 years. 

Parks-Shaw says she’s honored to be named mayor pro tem. 

“As the first African American female Mayor Pro Tem of Kansas City, I appreciate the opportunity to serve our city and make a positive impact. I am committed to working with my colleagues to represent all residents and work tirelessly to bring about positive change. Together, we can build a more inclusive and equitable future,” said Parks-Shaw