This week in Wins: Former capital of the Confederacy elects its first black mayor


It was a great week for progress in cities across the country and across the globe.

While impeachment has dominated headlines, there’s plenty of good news across the country.

Mayors around the world are uniting to fight climate change, and a sporting goods store has destroyed millions of dollars’ worth of semi-automatic guns and may stop selling guns altogether. Here’s some of the week’s best news.

Montgomery, Alabama, elects its first African American mayor

Montgomery, Alabama — a city with dual histories as the cradle of the civil rights movement and the first capital of the Confederacy — elected its first African American mayor this week. Steven L. Reed, a probate judge, won about 67% of the vote Tuesday. 

"This election has never been about me," Reed told supporters Tuesday night. "This election has never been about just my ideas. It’s been about all the hopes and dreams that we have as individuals and collectively in this city."

Reed has made history twice before; he was the first African American probate judge of Montgomery County as well as the first Alabama judge to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

Reed ran on a progressive platform, advocating for universal pre-K, public transit investment, and ending food deserts in the city. 

Montgomery has a long and ugly history of white supremacy, lynchings, and Jim Crow. It’s also where Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger, sparking the Montgomery bus boycott.  

"Let the record show tonight, above all, show what we can do when we come together in this city and we build around positivity, around opportunity and all the things that tie us together," Reed said Tuesday night.

Mayors from across the globe commit to fighting climate change

The C40, a group of 94 mayors of the world's largest cities, announced the Global Green New Deal Wednesday. The mayors committed their cities to cutting emissions by pledging to keep global temperatures from rising above the 1.5-degrees celsius mark set by the Paris Agreement. The C40 includes Mexico City, Milan, New York, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. Four out of five of the largest cities in the United States are members of the C40. 

"This will be my priority as the new chair, to deliver a Green New Deal in the face of the climate emergency and to make the 2020s the decade of human action," said Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles mayor and incoming C40 chair. "This will be the defining decade not only of our lives, but of life itself for human beings on this planet. I have no doubt that we can and will get it right, because human beings have this stubborn desire to survive."

DC renames Columbus Day to honor indigenous people

The DC Council voted Tuesday to change the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The bill is temporary and lasts one year.  

"Columbus Day was officially designated as a federal holiday in 1937, despite the fact Columbus did not discover North America, despite the fact millions of people were already living in North America upon his arrival to the Americas, and despite the fact Columbus never set foot on the shores of the current United States," said Council member David Grosso, who introduced the bill, which passed with a supermajority of the council supporting it 

Mayor Muriel Bowser is expected to sign the bill, For it to become law, it will have to be approved by Congress within 225 days.

California governor signs bill to reduce black maternal mortality

Aiming to address the higher rates of death in childbirth among black women, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 464, the California Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act, into law this week. Introduced by California state Sen. Holly Mitchell, the law requires doctors and health care workers to undergo implicit bias training before working with pregnant women. 

"Black women deserve better. Bias, implicit or explicit, should no longer impact a woman’s ability to deliver a full-term baby or to survive childbirth," Mitchell said.

Black women are three to four times more likely to die in or as a result of childbirth compared to white women. That discrepancy plays a large role in the United States leading the industrialized world in maternal death. 

Dick’s Sporting Goods destroys massive stock of military-style guns

Dick's Sporting Goods destroyed $5 million in semi-automatic weapons this week and is considering ending gun sales at all its stores. Semi-automatic weapons, like the AR-15, have become infamous as the weapon of choice for American mass shooters. 

Edward W. Sack, the CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, told CBS, "So many people say to me, you know, 'If we do what you want to do, it’s not going to stop these mass shootings.' And my response is: 'You’re probably right. It won't. But if we do these things and it saves one life, don’t you think it’s worth it?'"

After Sack and his wife, Donna, learned that the AR-15 used in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, had been purchased at one of their stores, they pulled the weapons from their shelves. Now they’re going further, and have already removed guns at over 100 Dick’s stores.

New York will keep records of petty crimes sealed

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Monday guaranteeing that the records of those convicted of low-level offenses will be sealed. The records of petty crimes, such as non-alcohol related traffic violations and disorderly conduct, will be inaccessible by government and private citizens unless otherwise ordered by a judge.

Come back next week for more good news.