Auburn University at Montgomery alums to discuss race and politics
Two Auburn University at Montgomery graduates will share their views on race and politics as part of Black History Month festivities taking place on campus in February.
Alums Christian Crawford, a former SGA president at AUM, and Timothy Ragland, the first African-American mayor of Talladega, are the featured guest speakers for the Thursday, Feb. 25 forum “Race & Politics: A Frank Conversation with Alumni.” Their talk is set for 12 p.m. Members of the campus community can attend in-person in 230 Taylor Center or join via Zoom.
The forum is co-sponsored by AUM’s student chapters of SPLC on Campus and the NAACP. Following the event, student attendees also will have an opportunity to meet with SPLC on Campus and NAACP officers, pick up various organizational materials, and sign up for membership in the organizations.
About Timothy Ragland
Timothy Ragland is a native of Talladega, Alabama. In October 2019, he was elected Talladega’s first African-American mayor in a run-off election against incumbent Jerry Cooper. He defeated Cooper by just 24 votes.
Ragland first considered running for Talladega mayor in 2015 while a student at AUM, where he formed his initial interests in politics. As an AUM student, Ragland served in the Political Science Club, College Democrats, Student Government Association as director of political engagement, STARS Program, and as a senator for public policy and justice. He also served as one of the first AUM student diversity advocates, a group responsible for hosting diversity events on campus, and joined the AUM chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
Through his involvement with the College Democrats — the college wing of the Democratic party — Ragland landed his first political job with former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign as a field organizer. The salaried position with Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign in Tallahassee, Fla., exposed Ragland to working with people and learning about what it takes to get people to become registered voters. He developed plans to get people to polling places using bus routes and bus shuttles, and shared Clinton’s platform with voters through phone banking and house visits. Ragland went on to work in similar roles for former U.S. Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama on his 2017 campaign run and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter Maddox during his 2018 run for Alabama governor.
Ragland transferred to AUM after earning an associate degree from Marion Military Institute in Marion, Alabama, in 2014. He earned an undergraduate degree in political science from AUM in 2017 and has studied law at Faulkner University’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law.
About Christian Crawford
Christian G. Crawford is a native of Birmingham. In 2018, he graduated magna cum laude from AUM, receiving a bachelor’s degree in political science. While at AUM, Crawford served as the 2017-2018 president of the Student Government Association and received the George B. Stewart Award for his academic contributions to the Department of Political Science and Public Administration.
Crawford has a myriad of experience in both the nonprofit world and Alabama politics. As a freshman, he jumped into the nonprofit arena, interning with the Higher Education Partnership, advocating for the fourteen public universities across the state. Later, he interned with the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office and became a summer fellow with the Alabama Policy institute (API) in Birmingham, Alabama. Crawford has also worked with the Social Justice Learning Institute (SJLI) in Inglewood, California, advocating for the educational equity of boys and young men of color, and helping to shape President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative with SJLI. In 2018, Crawford served as an outreach fellow with VOICES for Alabama’s Children, traveling across the state of Alabama, speaking to county Children Policy Councils about the importance of the 2020 Census and advocating for the health, education, and economic security of Alabama’s children. Currently, he serves as president of the inaugural All Ways Up Alumni Association in Los Angeles, California, seeking to help low-income and first-generation college students navigate life after college and break cycles of generational poverty.
In 2020, Crawford received his Master of Theological Studies from Vanderbilt University’s School of Divinity, with certificates in Black Church Studies and American Studies. He frequently contributes to local campaigns across the state of Alabama. He enjoys writing on issues concerning American history, theology, and politics.