By Jamal Thomas
November 12, 2019
(Montgomery, AL)- Today was a very special day for the lives of many in the Alabama’s capital city. Today, Steven L. Reed was sworn in as the first Black Mayor of Montgomery.
I am so grateful to witness such a monumental, paramount, and exuberant moment in our history. Since I moved to Montgomery from Cleveland, OH in 2002 to attend Alabama State University, I have learned and embraced so much about my history. I have learned more than what is written in schoolbooks. Many iconic figures who were influential and instrumental in the Montgomery Civil Rights Movement have taken me under their wings. They have shared many stories about their personal experiences in the fight for equality and justice. Some have even showed me scars from registering Blacks to vote.
I even had the opportunity to attend a panel discussion with 3 Freedom Riders. I remember one sharing the story of how they were arrested in Jackson, MS. “They beat us. We started singing, and they beat us some more” one panelist shared. “We just kept on singing and they got tired of beating us.”
These are some of the reasons why I am proud to live and witness this part of our history.
Every seat in The Montgomery Performing Arts Center was filled for today’s Inauguration Mayor Steven L. Reed. After our nine City Councilors took their oath of office, Charles Jinright (District 9) was elected City Council President and Tracy Larkin (District 3) was elected City Council President Pro-Tem.
Mayor Reed’s father, Dr. Joe L. Reed offered him words of encouragement during the ceremony. Dr Reed told his son to keep God first; and to give his service rather than his soul. “Nothing gives me greater pleasure as my son takes oath of office for Mayor of Montgomery” Dr. Reed boasted.
In his inaugural message, Mayor Steven Reed shared his vision for the city. He said that we can use the lessons from our past to create a future of growth and expansion opportunities for all. Mayor Reed also said that we need to write a new narrative for education, safety, and our neighborhoods.
We have a new generation of leadership in our city. I believe that this is a new day for Montgomery. Our city has talent, resources, and opportunities that have either been untapped, kept hidden, or disengaged. I believe that we will set a new precedent in the South. Now let us work together to become the Birthplace of Change.
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