America’s mayors have taken center stage in 2020. Big city mayors feuded with state and federal officials over COVID-19 protections and resources, and have been praised — and condemned — for their handling of protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.

These crises may be unfolding on a national scale, but affect lives in every American city and town. With Atlanta officials already in the national spotlight, On Second Thought turned to local leaders in Savannah — Georgia’s first city and the state’s largest coastal municipality — to see how they are responding. We begin with Savannah Mayor Van Johnson, who took office in January of this tumultuous year. He shed light on his decision-making processes and vision for the city’s future.

"On Second Thought" for Friday, June 26, 2020.

For generations, "The Talk" has been a mainstay in African American families. At some point, black children all get warnings from elders about how to avoid — or survive — police encounters. First, hear from three Georgia men about how they remember "The Talk." And because it’s a rite that cuts across region, socioeconomic status and profession, even for members of law enforcement, On Second Thought speaks with Savannah Police Chief Roy Minter about his own experiences getting and giving "The Talk."

When COVID-19 hit Savannah, city leaders were particularly concerned about the homeless — or "roofless," as 3rd District Alderwoman Linda Wilder-Bryan prefers to call them. Her drive to help people who couldn’t get into shelters led to a proposal for "Dundee Village." Now, plans are underway for a safe and sanitary complex of tents and, later, shipping containers to house people displaced by the pandemic and at risk of contracting coronavirus on the streets. Alderwoman Wilder-Bryan joined On Second Thought to tell us more.

The summer of 2020 looks like it will be a season of protest, as many across Georgia and the country call for an end to police brutality and structural racism. It’s far from the first season of protest and turmoil in coastal Georgia. GPB reporter Emily Jones looks at the ongoing movement for justice, and protests past and present.

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