Statement on the USA Visit of Pope Francis

Washington, D.C. (Sep. 21, 2015) – The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) shares the enthusiasm of many Americans for the upcoming visit by Pope Francis to the United States. AAMA President Mayor Steve Benjamin (Columbia, SC) issued the following statement on behalf of the organization: 

“Since his election in 2013, Pope Francis has been a powerful leadership role model by emphasizing humility, a commitment to the poor and disadvantaged, and promoting dialogue. His visits to Washington, New York City, and Philadelphia will urge all Americans and their elected officials to reaffirm our society’s best practices while working harder to ensure fairness and opportunity for everyone. On behalf of AAMA, I wish Pope Francis a successful and impactful visit to the United States.“   


AAMA Endorses “MAYNARD” Documentary Highlighting the Life of Former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson

Washington, D.C. (August 26, 2015) – The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) endorses the planned documentary film “MAYNARD”, highlighting the late Mayor Maynard Jackson. Mayor Jackson was elected in 1973 as Atlanta’s first-ever Black mayor, and the first Black mayor of a major Southern city.

AAMA President Mayor Steve Benjamin (Columbia, SC) issued the following statement:

“Mayor Maynard Jackson’s historic election as Mayor of Atlanta inspired many African Americans to pursue community improvement through public service. Mayor Jackson’s focus on economic development and social progress continues to influence best practices for mayors and cities throughout the United States. I am excited that Mayor Jackson’s legacy will be chronicled by the “MAYNARD” documentary, and I look forward to viewing its portrayal of his momentous tenure.”

Filming for the “MAYNARD” documentary begins September 2015. The Executive Producers for the documentary are Maynard Jackson III, Brooke Jackson Edmond, Elizabeth Jackson Hodges, C. Howie Hodges, and Winsome Sinclair. Release details will be provided at a later date.

Statement on the Arrest and Death of Sandra Bland

Washington, D.C. (July 23, 2015) – The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) is deeply concerned about the circumstances surrounding the arrest and death of Sandra Bland in Prairie View, Texas. AAMA urges state and federal authorities to swiftly hold accountable anyone who is found to have violated Ms. Bland’s constitutional rights.

“Like many across America we are deeply troubled by the events surrounding Sandra Bland’s arrest and death and we firmly believe that only a truly transparent investigation can ever hope to answer the difficult questions before us,” said AAMA President Mayor Steve Benjamin (Columbia, SC). “To that end and as President of the African American Mayors Association, today I sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch fully supporting the FBI’s decision to coordinate with local and state authorities not only in monitoring the ongoing investigation as it develops but also serving as an independent review once it is completed.”

“As leaders we must not only react to this tragedy, but do all we can to prevent similar tragedies in our communities. Through the newly established AAMA Justice Reform Task Force chaired by Mayor Toni Harp (New Haven, CT), our member mayors will work to identify community policing best practices that ensure everyone is treated fairly and with full respect for their rights during all interactions with law enforcement. Then and only then can justice truly be served.”

AAMA Member Mayor Frank D. Jackson (Prairie View, TX) issued the following statement regarding the incident:

“Our sympathies are with the family of Ms. Sandra Bland for their loss. The family is justifiably concerned about the circumstances of her death, and they deserve answers. This incident is currently being investigated by county and state law enforcement agencies, as it should be.

At this time, it does not appear that any member of the Prairie View Police Department had any contact with Ms. Bland after her arrest and booking. Ms. Bland was not under the supervision or control of the Prairie View police at the time of her death or the days leading up to this tragic event.

Please know, however, that the City of Prairie View will do whatever is necessary to assist our law enforcement entities, and any other investigative agencies, to determine what caused the death of Sandra Bland.

We do know that a Prairie View police officer provided back-up for the DPS trooper who made the arrest. That officer’s conduct is under review for compliance with standard operating procedures. We will wait until the investigation is concluded to determine if any further action is to be taken by the City.

In the mean time, we join others in seeking a thorough and complete investigation, and that it proceed as quickly as possible so that we can all find answers to the many questions surrounding Ms. Bland’s final hours.”

Media Contact: Everton Morris, AAMA Deputy Executive Director,

Statement on Tragic Shooting in Charleston, South Carolina

Washington, D.C. (June 18, 2015) — AAMA President Mayor Steve Benjamin (Columbia, SC) today released the following statement on last night’s tragic shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina:

“The African American Mayors Association offers its prayers to the residents of Charleston and the congregation of Emanuel AME Church in the aftermath of last night’s senseless act of violence. The hateful loss of life in a historic church with a strong legacy as a community bedrock is heartbreaking. As the police investigation continues, I remain hopeful that those responsible will be swiftly brought to justice.“

Media Contact: Everton Morris, AAMA Deputy Executive Director, (202) 670-2018

U.S. EPA & FERC to Host Webinar on Energy Markets

Generating electricity from power plants is the single largest source of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions in the United States.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) are working collaboratively to provide an overview of energy markets for communities.  The FERC staff presenter will offer basic information about how the power system operates, how power is bought and sold, and identify who regulates the power system.  Several states requested this training in preparation for the implementation of the final Clean Power Plan.  For more information on the Clean Power Plan, please visit:



Webinar Details:

Date:   June 25, 2015

Time:   1:00-2:30 pm EDT

Register by contacting:


Presenter from FERC:

Jeffery S. Dennis, Director, Division of Policy Development, Office of Energy Policy and Innovation



EPA will finalize the Clean Power Plan mid-summer 2015 and a proposed federal plan will be issued at the same time.  This is one of a number of webinars that the EPA, in response to training requests from stakeholders, is conducting before and after the Clean Power Plan is finalized.  This webinar will be posted online for future viewing at

African American Mayors Association to Hold Press Conference Call

The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) will host a conference call with reporters to highlight the impact of the President’s trade agenda on America’s cities. Today, AAMA released a statement urging passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation. AAMA mayors will be joined by US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, underscoring the President’s commitment to ensuring American cities are connected to global economic opportunities.


WHO:            U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx

AAMA President Mayor Steve Benjamin (Columbia, SC)

AAMA Board of Trustees Member Mayor Bill Bell (Durham, NC)

AAMA Member Mayor Marilyn Strickland (Tacoma, WA)

WHAT:       Conference Call

WHEN:       Tuesday, June 9th at 1:00PM Eastern Time

Please RSVP to Everton Morris, AAMA Deputy Executive Director ( ) for call-in information.

AAMA Statement on TPA-2015 Legislation

With economic growth and job creation as top priorities for mayors nationwide, it is time for Congress to consider and approve Trade Promotion Authority legislation (TPA-2015) and its potential to further unlock the economic potential of American businesses and workers through President Obama’s trade agenda.

Mayors throughout America agree that world trade is a very important element of success in attracting jobs and investment to our communities. Many US cities have experienced significant increases in exports in recent years, and are home to numerous businesses linked to international commerce. Those experiences, and the results reflected in the numbers, must be a major factor as Congress moves forward on TPA-2015.

AAMA strongly supports enforceable labor and environmental provisions in trade agreements that raise global standards and respect local regulations. TPA-2015 sets forth a strong process to advance the interests of American cities, companies, and workers. Moreover, TPA-2015 creates a timeline for concerns to be considered and addressed before a final trade agreement receives approval, ensuring the voices of American mayors, workers, and advocacy groups are heard. With TPA-2015 allowing only a final up-or-down vote by Congress, our foreign negotiating partners have the highest incentive to give the United States their best offers.

In the 21st century global marketplace, we simply cannot afford the years-long trade agreement battles of the past, as foreign rivals will continue to be aggressive in seizing opportunities from American businesses and workers. With TPA-2015 passed by Congress and signed into law, the United States will have the tools needed to build strong agreements that encourage new business opportunities and create jobs in our cities.