For Immediate Release: July 26, 2017
African American Mayors Association Statement on President Trump’s Transgender Military Ban Announcement
(Washington, DC) On behalf of the 500 African American mayors across the country, Toni Harp, Mayor of New Haven, CT and President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), released the following statement in response to President Trump’s tweet this morning announcing that he intends to ban transgender Americans from military service:
“Every American, including one who identifies as transgender, has a right to serve openly in the military of a nation that promises fairness, dignity, and equal treatment for all. This right should not be rolled back. We call for an immediate end to this ban that seeks to discriminate against our fellow Americans. The Administration and Members of Congress should instead be working to ensure the welfare of all Americans by preserving the Affordable Care Act, providing high quality education for all children, enacting bipartisan criminal justice reform, and repairing our nation’s aging infrastructure.”
Stephanie Mash Sykes, Esq., AAMA Executive Director and General Council was featured on Joe Miller’s Washingtech Podcast, discussing technology and bridging the digital divide. Listen here!
For Immediate Release: June 27, 2017
The change encourages trustees to hire “emerging managers” including minority, veteran, and women-owned firms
(New Haven, CT) Today, the City Employee Retirement Fund of New Haven (CERF) approved a measure that will dramatically increase the use of diverse asset managers. This measure allows investors to consider “emerging managers,” including minority-owned, veteran-owned and women-owned firms, bringing an essential diversity of perspective and experience to the asset management of the City of New Haven.
Emerging managers are considered investment managers with less than $3 billion of assets under management or with shorter track records, and can be considered by CERF for all asset classes. The measure instructs trustees to limit an investment allocation to no more than 20 percent of the firm’s assets under management.
“The inclusion of this emerging managers provision in our city investment policy is a tremendous step forward for New Haven,” said New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, who also serves as President of the African American Mayors Association, which represents more than 500 African American mayors throughout the country. “When our asset managers come with a successful track record from diverse backgrounds, and bring new perspectives to the work, that helps keep our investments viable and safe. This provision means we can support diverse and inclusive workforces in every sector and among every entity with which the City of New Haven does business. Research has proven that diverse asset managers perform as well, if not better, as majority firms. Our financial economy should be open for everyone and I encourage my colleagues around the country to do the same, and am committed to seeing my fellow African American mayors take up this cause in their towns.”
The Policemen & Firemen’s Retirement Fund is expected to vote on the same language in July or August.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 1, 2017
EOM Communications (EOM) – (202) 727-5011; email@example.com
Statement on the Paris Agreement
(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser issued the following statement regarding the Paris Agreement:
“Washington, DC will continue to work with cities and countries around the globe to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. The effects of climate change are already here, and without proper planning and collaboration, they will continue to get worse. It is in the best interest of our country’s safety, economy, and future to take climate change seriously, and as the Mayor of a major city, I have a special obligation to protect our environment for generations to come and to create policies and programs that reflect the values of the residents I serve. Over the past two years, Washington, DC has launched Climate Ready DC, entered into one of the largest municipal onsite solar projects in the U.S., and completed the largest wind power purchase agreement deal of its kind ever entered into by an American city. Going forward, our commitment to wind and solar will not yield, and we will move forward with building a more sustainable DC.
At a time when our country should be leading the fight against climate change, it is disappointing to see us retreating into isolation. Fortunately, I am confident that leaders around the country will continue to think globally, act locally, and ensure that the U.S. remains a strong partner in the fight against climate change.”
For Immediate Release: June 1, 2017
African American Mayors Association Statement on the Trump Budget’s Proposed Infrastructure Cuts
(Washington, DC) On behalf of the 500 African American mayors across the country, Toni Harp, Mayor of New Haven, CT and President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), released the following statement in response to the Trump budget proposal’s devastating cuts to infrastructure-related programs.
“My colleagues and I are woefully disappointed by President Trump’s failure to honor his promise to invest one trillion dollars in our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. Instead, the President’s recently released FY 2018 budget proposal denies America’s urban centers the additional support needed to recover from previous federal neglect of their infrastructure needs.
The Trump budget proposal is an attack on America’s urban foundation. Like President Trump who lives in Manhattan, two-thirds of the U.S. population now lives in cities, and the vitality of our cities is inextricably linked to the vitality of our nation as a whole. It cuts billions of dollars every year from community development and housing programs that make cities more affordable and livable. It cuts over a billion dollars every year from transportation projects that ease congestion in cities and their surrounding suburbs. It cuts 760 million dollars every year from Amtrak – a crucial link between cities. Over a decade, it cuts almost $100 billion dollars from the Highway Trust Fund, a program that increases mobility and employment in our cities and the nation as a whole. The budget proposal also cuts hundreds of millions of dollars every year from Superfund Cleanup and Brownfield projects that reduce health hazards in our cities and help redevelop former industrial sites.
“The Trump budget proposes significant tax credits and incentives for private companies but will not result in faster highway repairs and better public transportation in our cities. It will not lead to the cleanup and redevelopment of industrial sites. It will not protect against another Flint. Our cities demand and deserve better.”
For Immediate Release: May 4, 2017
Contact: Donald Gatlin, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-587-2871
Mia Jacobs, email@example.com, 202-930-6818
AFRICAN AMERICAN MAYORS ASSOCIATION STATEMENT ON THE AMERICAN HEALTH CARE ACT
WASHINGTON, DC— On behalf of the 500 African American mayors across the country, Mayor Toni Harp, of New Haven, CT, and President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), released the following statement in response to today’s House of Representatives vote on the American Health Care Act:
“My colleagues and I condemn the House’s action today on health care. The House bill jeopardizes health insurance coverage for millions of people with pre-existing conditions and limits the health benefits available to people covered by the Affordable Care Act. At the same time, this bill decimates the Medicaid program. It cuts federal Medicaid payments to the states by $880 billion over 10 years and will cause some 10 million people to lose Medicaid coverage.
We do not want to go back to a time when Medicaid funding was too limited to fulfill the program’s intended purposes. We do not want to see families of children born with preexisting conditions face skyrocketing premiums and exceed lifetime caps, because Congress put politics before families. As a result, our cities will be forced to curtail services to children, the disabled and the elderly, and there will be a dramatic decline in the ability of our hospitals and clinics—both public and private—to treat and prevent a host of serious conditions—diabetes, opioid abuse, and mental illness among them. Healthcare provides for a healthier workforce, which drives the local economies that are the bedrock of our national prosperity. As of today, the health of that workforce is threatened.”
Congress should put families first. We urge the Senate to reject this misguided legislation.”
To be an African-American mayor leading a city in the 21st century is not about “power” but about “possibilities.” With more than 470 African-American mayors leading cities across the United States, the lens of our leadership is shaped from our own personal experiences. Together, we collectively bring a perspective that allows for a spectrum of possibilities.
As city leaders, it is our obligation to ensure the fiscal responsibility of taxpayers’ contributions towards city operations, as well as address the pension liabilities of a city’s police, fire and civilian workforce. These very important, and very complicated issues, are just a few of the priorities mayors must tackle. There is urgency in every moment, and expediency required in every decision. But, we must be cautious not to become so caught up in the process of managing cities that we lose sight of the importance of being mayors of color, and the significance our governance has on our communities.
Since I became the mayor of the City of Houston in January 2016, one of my spectra of possibilities is building complete communities. To that end, I’ve created a Complete Communities Program, which is designed to proactively support underserved communities, their residents, and the businesses in their areas. These communities have been plagued by years of generational poverty and the issues that come with this very destructive intergenerational cycle, such as low literacy rates and high percentages of individuals involved in our justice system. Compounding these issues are the pressures of things such as gentrification and substantial adverse changes due to major public infrastructure improvements.
However, the title of “Mayor” is not who I am. Who I am is a prime example of a “better tomorrow.” Growing up in one of the targeted areas in the Complete Communities Program, I faced many challenges, but my mother always told my siblings and I that “tomorrow will be better than today.” With that instilled in me, I had a drive and determination to not only dream big, but to take advantage of the opportunities presented to me in order to make those dreams come true. Who I am allows me to know that the Complete Communities Program is not just a choice, it’s a matter of conviction, which will ultimately lead to making an impact felt well beyond my tenure.
As the steward and overseer of the City of Houston, I am leveraging our resources, community partners, business leadership and other public partners to focus on neighborhood-level actions that will collectively foster economic opportunities and neighborhood vitality throughout various communities in Houston. We are investing in communities that have historically not been prioritized for economic development, which consequently resulted in a disparity of resources.
Some of the program’s explicit goals are to organize around the geographic dimensions of problems and create thriving commercial areas, successful neighborhood businesses, and equitable access to quality jobs throughout our city. Another foundational component that cannot be ignored is the importance of investing in education. My obligation to transform the circumstances in our communities requires that education—at all levels—be a critical component and have a high impact.
This strategy will build on best practices and community-driven approaches that can successfully position our neighborhoods, local businesses, and residents to connect to and compete in the City’s booming economy. This collaborative approach to neighborhood economic development intends to build partnerships for implementation and ensures that the implementation process reflects community priorities and strengthens communities from within. Communities are places with vibrant retail, quality affordable housing, neighborhood parks and access to good schools—the end result of our efforts.
For many of our stakeholders, we are viewed as new hope and new opportunities for all, regardless of who they are and where they come from. Our visions for our cities’ futures have to be seeped into the importance of bridging gaps and creating opportunities for citizens, to not only survive, but to thrive. We do this, not only out of obligation to our cities, but for the promise of possibilities coming to fruition for a constituency that has long been ignored.
To be an African-American mayor at the helm of a city is indeed a marvelous feat—one that undoubtedly is the result of beating incredible odds, which is all the more reason why we must lead with a conviction and commitment for transformation. Leading in this current time, against the backdrop of strained community-police relations, voting rights challenges, waning interest in social justice and equitable access to resources, requires that we are nimble and strategic in our approach to leading our cities. Together, with our unique personal experiences and backgrounds, we are best poised to realize the gains that are necessary for successful cities.
***As featured in the National Urban Leagues’ State of Black America***
AAMA Members signed the below letter led by Seattle, WA Mayor Ed Murray
Dear Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein:
We write to express our deep concerns about the record of President-elect Trump’s nominee for Attorney General of the United States, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL). We urge a thorough vetting of Sen. Sessions’ policy positions, especially those that we believe will be detrimental to the country’s progress towards becoming more inclusive and our cities’ efforts to create strong and safe communities.
Diversity is rapidly increasing in our cities, in part, due to immigration. We believe this growth and integration in our communities promotes a more vibrant economy and life for all our citizens. However, with changing demographics, we must also work to promote and encourage trust between the public and law enforcement. Senator Sessions’ legislative record lacks a commitment to these goals, and to upholding civil rights for all. And, as a result, we question whether Senator Sessions can fairly lead an agency charged with protecting the constitutional and civil rights of rights of all Americans.
Senator Sessions has consistently opposed bipartisan efforts to reform our immigration policies despite his consistent criticism of the status quo. Moreover, he opposes any path to citizenship for people illegally brought to the U.S. as children by their parents, known as Dreamers. Additionally, Senator Sessions has also aligned himself with several anti-immigration groups, such as NumbersUSA.
Given Senator Sessions’ history and the critical issues under the Department of Justice’s jurisdiction, we believe that Senator Sessions is unable to fairly enforce our nation’s laws and will not work to advance justice and equality. We encourage you to oppose Senator Sessions nomination to serve as Attorney General of the United States.
Mayor Ed Murray (Seattle, WA)
Mayor Sly James (Kansas City, MO)
Mayor Toni Harp (New Haven, CT)
Mayor Ed Lee (San Francisco, CA)
Mayor Betsy Hodges (Minneapolis, MN)
Mayor Bill Bell (Durham, NC)
Mayor Leon Rockingham, Jr. (North Chicago, IL)
Mayor McKinley Price (Newport News, VA)
Mayor William Johnson (Holly Hill, SC)
Mayor Mario Avery (Fairburn, GA)
Mayor Jacqueline Goodall (Forest Heights, MD)
Mayor Harold Thompson (Union, South Carolina)
Mayor Beverly Young (Village of Vandalia, MI)
Mayor Wayne Messam (Miramar, FL)
Mayor Ras Baraka (Newark, NJ)
Mayor Adrian Mapp (Plainfield, NJ)
(Washington, DC), On behalf of the 500 African American mayors across the country, Mayor Sly James of Kansas City, MO and President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), released the following statement in response to Ben Carson’s nomination to serve as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD):
“My colleagues and I at AAMA look forward to learning about Dr. Carson’s plans to ensure that every American is afforded a decent place to live. His past statements criticizing government safety net programs, including the housing programs that serve the most vulnerable in this country, have troubled us. However, we are ready and willing to share our experience as leaders at the front lines of revitalizing local communities.
HUD is an important partner in community development in cities across the country and a vital driver of housing opportunities. We are hopeful that Dr. Carson will not only continue the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) Program, the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program, and the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) Program, but will also call for an increase in funding for these essential programs. We also request the continuation of the Choice program so that more cities can benefit, just as Kansas City has benefitted, from the place making and improvements to public housing that this program affords. We would also like to see the continuation of the Continuum of Care Program, which is a major funding source for the homeless, as well as federal low income housing tax credits, which are a major source of funding for affordable housing. Historically, Federal Housing Administration (FHA) backed mortgages have been vital to allowing middle income persons to purchase a home, just as rental vouchers have been vital for low income people to be able to afford to live in opportunity areas. We hope that these programs will also continue.
Finally, we look forward to collaboration across federal agencies as well as federal-state coordination and cooperation, so that our communities will see increased weatherization of facilities and other improvements that require a multifaceted approach. We are hopeful that Dr. Carson will choose to prioritize the aforementioned programs, while also leading HUD fairly and effectively, to foster a vibrant 21st century for American cities.”
The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) is pleased that the Fulton County Superior Court (Atlanta, GA) has resolved any concern regarding former Sacramento, California Mayor Kevin Johnson’s role in the history of the National Conference of Black Mayors (NCBM) and his role as founder of the AAMA. With the conclusion of the litigation, AAMA now also possesses the exclusive rights to the unified history of the NCBM and the AAMA. AAMA also thanks the extraordinary pro bono efforts of Ballard Spahr LLP in seeing this matter to its conclusion.
For over 40 years, African American mayors have empowered citizens and cared for the most vulnerable among us, while building communities that showcase the best that America has to offer. Mayor Johnson, along with a dedicated Board of Trustees, launched the AAMA in May 2014 to preserve the vital voice of African American Mayors, and by doing so, rekindled the spirit of some of the greatest African American mayors this country has seen, such as Maynard Jackson, Harold Washington and Andrew Young.
AAMA now boasts a geographically diverse membership that tackles the nation’s most pressing issues in our cities, such as economic development, digital access and literacy, and criminal justice reform, among many others. AAMA will carry forward the rich and inspiring legacy of all African American Mayors as it continues to empower mayors across the country for the benefit of their communities.
AAMA President, Mayor Sly James (Kansas City, MO) provided the following statement:
“AAMA commends Mayor Johnson’s efforts in turning the page to a new chapter for the history of African American Mayors. His extraordinary efforts have helped to establish AAMA as a premiere organization representing black elected officials. Mayor Johnson has been a dedicated public servant to the City of Sacramento and a leader for African American mayors around the country. As he concludes his last term as mayor, we also congratulate him on his many accomplishments in Sacramento, and wish him well on all future endeavors.”
Former Mayor Johnny Ford (Tuskegee, AL), a founder of the National Conference of Black Mayors, and a founder and Trustee Emeritus of AAMA provided the following statement:
“Since the Reconstruction Period, African American mayors have led a freedom and empowerment train for communities across the country. Decades later, Mayor Kevin Johnson answered the call to hop on board and took the train to new heights, preserving and uplifting our voices during an important time in our nation’s history. We applaud his efforts, and look forward to AAMA continuing a on a track of success.”