‘Today’ segment features Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed
A segment broadcast nationally Thursday morning on the “Today Show” featured two of Alabama’s most prominent mayors.
NBC’s Craig Melvin reported on seven mayors — all relatively young black men and most of them from the South — who have formed a group to help each other most effectively lead their respective cities.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed, both first-term mayors, are part of this network.
Woodfin was the first mayor featured in the segment, responding to a question from Melvin about the unique challenges of being in their shoes as a mayor in 2020.
“All of us are dealing with the trifecta of a global health pandemic, economic crisis and racial unrest,” the Magic City leader noted. “All three of those things combined requires a deep moral compass to make tough decisions.”
At Melvin’s prompting, both Woodfin and Reed were subsequently highlighted as they spoke about being black mayors leading police departments amid civil unrest across the nation.
“You have to listen to all your constituents,” Woodfin advised. “Because at the end of the day, all of our jobs as mayor, the responsibility of public safety is ours.”
“And it takes a balance,” Reed said. “I think what I’ve tried to do is to have a compassion for our community, to have a compassion for our residents.”
While tangible advice and best practices are shared in the group, which communicates mainly by text message, they also offer each other support on a more personal level. Their text thread, they say, is often lighthearted and filled with ribbing each other.
This was evidenced by the mayors jokingly teasing Reed about how big his City of Montgomery office is, as seen on the segment.
Reed landed a one-liner of his own shortly afterward, when Melvin asked who was going to give him some excerpts from the text thread.
“We don’t have any Michael Cohens in this group,” Reed quipped, referencing the former attorney to President Donald Trump.
Seven young Black men elected mayors of their respective cities have formed a group text to help each other navigate such challenges as the pandemic, the economic downturn and racial injustice. @craigmelvin has more on their conversations. pic.twitter.com/twHMFUxSI3
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) September 17, 2020
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn