Seven Black mayors recently spoke with NBC’s Today to discuss how they lean on each other for emotional and decision-making help in the midst of the myriad of issues they face daily.
The group includes Mayors Quinton Lucas of Kansas City, Missouri, Chokwe Lumumba of Jackson, Mississippi, Adrian Perkins of Shreveport, Louisiana, Frank Scott of Little Rock, Arkansas, Randall Woodfin of Birmingham, Alabama, Steven Reed of Montomery, Alabama, and Levar Stoney of Richmond, Virginia.
“All of us are dealing with the trifecta of a global health pandemic, an economic crisis, and racial unrest,” Woodfin told Today host Craig Melvin. “All three of those things combined requires a deep moral compass to make tough decisions.”
The mayors were all asked how being young Black men influences their executive decisions on how they govern their city’s police departments.
“It takes a balance,” Reed said. “And I think what I’ve tried to do is have a compassion for our communities. Have a compassion for our residents.”
“You have to listen to all your constituents,” Woodfin added. “Because at the end of the day, although our job is mayor, the responsibility of public safety is ours.”
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The mayors say the advice shared between them is heavily influential in their policy decisions.
“We’re talking to each other about things like, ‘Do you have a curfew? What are you doing in terms of controlling or quelling protests?’ And at a time like this with a country as divided as it is, this has been vital for us,” Lucas said.
“I think having a collective like this where you have this type of sounding board is priceless,” Reed added. “And it’s something I think has made us all better leaders.”
Outside of politics, the men say they’re all friends.
“We don’t have to put up the proverbial face with each other,” Scott said. “And we can trust one another.”
“There’s nothing we can’t ask of one another,” Scott said. “However, we’re all still trying to figure out how we can have an office like Mayor Reed. It’s still an issue for all of us at this point in time. Look at it. It’s about five thousand square feet.”
Watch the Today interview here.