[June 2, 2020] After a peaceful day of protests in Atlantic City, New Jersey, mostly black rioters, started destroying storefronts throughout the city. Atlantic City is small compared to Minneapolis, New York City, or Seattle. But it’s mayor, Marty Small, Sr., is a big man, a man with ideas on how to make the lives of his citizens better. And, he was the only city mayor I would find who had the moral courage to stand up to the looters and vandals destroying his city.
“I’m shamed, embarrassed, hurt. Media from all around the world (are) calling me because of what happened in Atlantic City tonight. Y’all set us back today. … Y’all let it happen.”1 – Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small, Sr.
Storefronts were broken into, and items were stolen. The local newspaper, The Press of Atlantic City, showed more than 50 photographs, many of the pictures displaying groups of looters taking merchandise from stores. This past Sunday afternoon, about 300 people gathered for a peaceful protest of the killing of George Floyd and police brutality.1 Soon, however, this gave way to looting and confrontations with local police.
“This is sickening, y’all,” Mayor Small said, who was present at the protests and saw the looting. “You all got to live here, and you all let it happen.” Mayor Small’s comments are a rare glimpse into an honest man who wants the best for all his citizens regardless of race, income, or status. From those who know him, he tells things as he sees them. Mayor Small is questioning the motives of those looting and burning. What do they expect to gain? Today, he was showing the moral courage that our big city mayors should consider immulating.
Discussing the problems of Atlantic City at a press conference, he also talked about economic inequalities and suggested that residents have a hand in it, as well.
“People want to blame others for the black community’s issues. … Problem is, let’s be honest with one another. We’ve got to get our (expletive) together.”
Sometimes being a leader means being blunt. That do that to get the attention of those around them. Despite the newspaper editing his comments, I can say with conviction that when Mayor Small talks, people listen. Here that, big-city mayors? Pay attention to this man. He speaks from the heart and speaks with courage.