There were close to 300 people on hand to witness the unveiling of a bronze bust statue honoring the first woman and first black mayor of Minneapolis, Sharon Sayles Belton. The ceremony was held at Minneapolis City Hall, and the third and fourth floors of its atrium were packed with friends, admirers and colleagues.

Sharon Sayles Belton and sculptor Ed Dwight.

Sharon Sayles Belton and sculptor Ed Dwight.

Renowned African America bronze sculptor, Ed Dwight, whose more than 100 public art commissions have include Rosa Parks, Hank Aaron and Congressman Mickey Leland, was commissioned to create the bronze bust of the former mayor and was on hand for the unveiling.

Sayles Belton, who is today vice president of Government Affairs & Community Relations at Thomson Reuters, grew up in St. Paul and Minneapolis. She graduated from Minneapolis Central High School and went to Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. Sayles Belton served as a Minneapolis City Council member from the Eighth Ward for 10 years before being elected mayor of Minneapolis, serving from 1994 to 2001. Mayor Sayles Belton is credited with stabilizing neighborhoods during a time of racial tension, while re-energizing the city’s downtown.

Some of her many accomplishments include urban renewal and vitality and increased visibility of the arts. During her term, Minneapolis renovated the historic theaters on Hennepin Avenue, creating a venue for national theatrical and musical productions. She also led efforts to revitalize the neglected central riverfront and connected Minneapolis with the Mississippi River, transforming the area into a vibrant, diverse and jubilant community.

During her remarks, Sayles Belton looked back upon her upbringing and how that had inspired her career in public service.

“My family taught me the importance of community. They taught me that there was no room on the sidelines and they inspired me to believe in myself and to see the good in the world,” she said. “There was a lot of work to do and we partnered with sage elected and appointed officials, captains of industry, philanthropist, academicians, faith leaders, advocates, activist and our city’s youth. We were successful because we focused more on getting the job done rather than who got the credit.”

Sharon Sayles Belton Bust.

Sharon Sayles Belton Bust.

The bust will remain on display in the Minneapolis City Hall atrium, just outside the Office of The City Council. Below the bust is a plaque quoting Sayles Belton that reads: “Our responsibility is to be good stewards of the public trust and to partner with the citizens of Minneapolis to improve the quality of life for all.”

In closing, Sayles Belton reflected on a career of bringing people and organizations together to overcome obstacles and achieve significant outcomes. “I hope that this bust will be a reminder to people that a vision can become a reality. When we work together we can get more done than when we work alone.”

Today, in her role as vice president of Government Affairs & Community Relations at Thomson Reuters, Sayles Belton directs government affairs activities, focusing on key issues that impact Thomson Reuters, its customers and employees, and leads the business’s community outreach efforts.

This post was written by Charles R. Bradley Jr., senior publishing coordinator at Thomson Reuters and a member of Thomson Reuters Eagan Black Employee Network.

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