MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) In Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson is addressing race relations among citizens. It’s the first of a series of meetings focused on creating an open and honest dialogue about race relations in The Port City.
Hundreds turned out for the event where keynote speakers Alabama lawyer Stephen Foster Black and The Rev. Dr. Robert Turner Jr. expressed why they believe the conversation needs to happen.
“More and more Americans don’t have any relationships with anyone unlike themselves. It makes it harder to be compassionate, it makes it harder to have empathy and it makes it harder for a city to be creative, thoughtful and innovative,” Black said. “Even if it’s messy, even if people disagree, even if people think it’s not polite to talk about race and different economic issues, that’s the life blood of democracy.”
Rev. Dr. Robert Turner Jr. said if the people of Mobile believe in unity they why can’t people work together? Turner used examples of current segregation like the Mobile Mardi Gras Organizations and County Clubs that he said need to be desegregated.
“The City of Mobile, like the country, still has some racial problems but if we’re willing to work together I believe we can make it,” Turner said.
One of the organizers of the event, Joe’l Lewis said she wants all citizens to join the conversation which is just the beginning of a process to create a “safe environment for discussion.”
Citizens of Mobile came out seeking answers wanting to know where Mobile stands and how the city plans to move forward.
“Have we moved forward? Are we going to move forward? Do we have action items readily available to make sure Mobile is progressing like it should,” said Anitra Henderson who attended the event.
Mayor Stimpson said he wants the citizens of Mobile to unite so everyone can enjoy a better city.
If you’d like to take part in an anonymous survey about race relations click here.
The next race relations forum is set up for the month of September.