crowd is relatively friendly, and won’t you come down? She would not. And so, as the afternoon progressed, when there was chanting, it was directed at the mayor and at our new chief of police. There were, I think, maybe chants to get rid of him. But most of the chanting, I remember, was directed at the mayor—chanting, “We want Sally.” Or then, when she refused to come down… a less friendly message to her, shall we say?
The cry to her that I took note of was “Sally, I voted for you! Won’t you come and talk to me?”—which was really the case. Sally really did run for mayor as a progressive, and won with the support of many of the people who were in that crowd. So that sentiment of “We voted for you, we supported you, won’t you at least talk to us?” was a sentiment that I felt myself and I think a lot of people that day also felt.
I believe that it is incumbent upon elected officials to be available to speak to unfriendly crowds. I think we should be brave enough to get up in front of a crowd that might blow up. And I will tell you that I got plenty of heckling myself that day. I had made a couple of comments about my support for our local police force, and our new chief, which the crowd did not want to hear. But I still said it. And let them boo me and after they booed me, I continued on to make my point. I’m afraid that we politicians, you know, get used to friendly crowds. I just think it’s a question of courage. To me, it is a real sign of trouble when elected officials are afraid of citizens. Even if they’re not happy with you, I just really feel like speaking to people is what they deserve. At the very least, we have an obligation to let them know what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, or why we’re not.
GLEN RAY, SR., 68 ANNISTON, ALABAMA
Right now I’m fighting to get us a Black mayor. And like I tell the people, you know, as long as Anniston been Anniston, white people have been driving the vehicle. And at our council meetings, even though we have a percentage, we have three whites and two Blacks and we still don’t have a voice. You got all those Black folks but the white man still gotta be in charge. Every now and then I like to be a driver instead of sitting in the backseat. I tell the people it’s time for us to get out and let’s get us a Black mayor in