“I’m standing on the shoulders of giants like Ms. Edythe Sims, the first African-American woman to serve on our city council, and Mr. John Taylor, the first Black person to sit on our city council,” Ragland said. “It’s just humbling to know that people thought enough of me at my young age, and the ideas and plans I have for the city, to want to vote for me. I don’t take that lightly and I’m going to work for the citizens of Talladega every single day.” Timothy Ragland to HuffPost
Her Modern Life was ecstatic at the chance to speak with The City of Talladega’s first Black mayor, Mr. Timothy Ragland.
Q: Why is it important for young, Black people to exercise their civic duty (joining city council, voting, attending town hall meetings)?
– Civic engagement is life. Our entire lives are affected by politics, from the food we eat to the clothes we wear to the music we hear. In my time as Mayor, I have found that council members vote differently when they see a room full of people who will be impacted by their votes. The decisions made at these meetings are going to affect us – young people – for years to come. Voting is not the end of our civic responsibility; it is the beginning.
Q: What does legacy mean to you and what do you want yours to be?
– To me, legacy means laying a foundation that others can build on. I want my legacy to be someone who did his best, someone who was willing to go the extra mile for other people, and someone who was accessible and advocating for the people who cannot advocate for themselves. I hope that I can inspire future generations to know that they can achieve anything.
Q: How can millennials and Gen X take their places in the political arena?
– I know it’s cliché, but your vote is your voice. We cannot complain about the system when we are not participating in it. We need to write letters and call our elected officials, show up to public meetings, and encourage others to do the same; we have to hold those in office accountable to advocate for our best interests. We also need more millennials and Gen X in office; we have ideas that can take our communities to the next level. I encourage anyone interested in public office to run and put your ideas out there. We are the change we want to see.
Q: Do you have larger political aspirations or a dream job in politics?
– I ran for Mayor to be the I change I want to see in Talladega. Right now, there is so much work to do in the city; my main focus is to be the best Mayor possible for the people of Talladega.
Talladega is a small city of about 15,000, about 90 miles from the state capital, Montgomery, where Steven Reed recently made history as the first Black mayor of what was once known as the cradle of the Confederacy.