Statement from Mayor Lester E. Taylor III on Recent Shootings of Unarmed Men and Police
East Orange, NJ, July 11, 2016: The tragic incidents of last week weigh heavily on my heart and my mind. Captured on video, shared on social media, replayed endlessly on our televisions, and splashed across the front pages of our newspapers, the disturbing images from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Falcon Heights, Minnesota and Dallas, Texas have forced Americans to confront a raw set of emotions about racism, injustice and law enforcement.
I’ve had to revisit my own set of emotions and the harsh reality that I am living and raising my three children in a world where we may be judged by the color of our skin and not by the content of our character.
The recent avoidable acts of violence against Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were reactions borne by bias. Statistics show that unarmed black men account for about 40 percent of the people fatally shot by police. When adjusted by population, unarmed black men were seven times as likely as unarmed white men to die from police gunfire. New training techniques, more accountability through reformed laws, and better police hiring practices are just some of the solutions that can help fix a system that has been broken for far too long.
In East Orange, we are blessed to live in a community where our police officers stand apart from other urban communities for equally reflecting the people they serve. The brave men and women of the East Orange Police Department have worked tirelessly to drive down crime, enhance community police relations, and increase youth outreach. The result is a city that is safer than it has been in 50 years. As our own police – and law enforcement everywhere – continue to cope with the senseless attack against their fellow officers, I urge everyone to continue to show their support and respect for those who selflessly risk their lives daily to protect us from harm.
As we mourn, heal, analyze, and take action, we must unite on what makes us one. We all know someone who could have been Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, or Eric Garner. We must look inward and recognize our equal worth and dispose of the stigmas that surround not only people of color, but Americans from all walks of life. Collectively and individually, we must demand change. Let the action begin with you.
African American Mayors Association Statement on the Deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile
(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, released the following statement in response to the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile:
“Alton Sterling was a father of five and husband. Philando Castile was a beloved son. But, most of all, both of these men were human beings, and Americans, whose lives were cut short. Any time someone dies violently and a family member is lost, it is a tragedy and our hearts and minds go out to the family.
From Baltimore to Baton Rouge to Falcon Heights, mayors are at the forefront of working with police officials to ensure transparency in cases involving police shootings and call for thorough investigation and the earliest possible release of information. The African American Mayors Association commends the U.S. Department of Justice for its swift decision to launch a civil rights investigation into the Alton Sterling case, and hopes that similar, swift action is also taken in the Philando Castile case. We offer our support to the Mayors of Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights as they lead their cities through this challenging time.
The African American Mayors Association is committed to improving communication and trust between law enforcement and the citizens they are meant to serve and protect. We are likewise committed to police officer training on methods of de-escalation and disengagement for situations where the use of deadly force is unwarranted. We will continue this work, more committed than ever, to make our towns and cities safe for everyone.”
Coalition of Black Mayors Applauds Supreme Court for Affirming Women’s Right to Make Their Own Health Decisions
(Washington, DC), On behalf of the 500 African American mayors across the country, Mayor Vivian Covington, University Park, IL and Chairwomen of the African American Mayors Association’s Women Mayors Committee, released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion rights this week:
“The African American Mayors Association applauds the Supreme Court for reaffirming the constitutional right to safe and legal abortion in their Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision. Whether they live in a bustling urban center or far-off rural town, women’s ability to exercise that right must be unconditional. This is especially true for the millions of African American women who live in our cities and the families that love and depend on them. While women with means have the ability to get health care when and where they need it, many of our citizens face disadvantages that lead to second class care. Everyone deserves access to reproductive healthcare, no matter their zip code. This week, the Supreme Court has ensured that, unequivocally.”
Mayor Sly James of Kansas City, MO and President of the African American Mayors Association, added the following:
“Although the Whole Women’s Health decision was a majority, cases like these remind us what’s at stake for the American people. It is an unavoidable reality that the decisions the Supreme Court makes, impacts the healthcare and reproductive freedom of millions. For more than 100 days, that Court has not operated at full capacity. That is simply unacceptable. Therefore, in the wake of this week’s case, the African American Mayors Association once again calls on Congress to stop gambling with the fate of American citizens, #DoYourJob, and confirm Judge Merrick Garland.”
Newark, NJ –- June 13, 2016 — Mayor Ras J. Baraka and the City of Newark’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Commission will hold a vigil in honor of the victims of yesterday morning’s mass shooting in Orlando, tonight, Monday, June 13, at 6 p.m., on the front steps of City Hall, located at 920 Broad Street.
49 people were killed and at least 53 wounded by a shooter in an Orlando nightclub frequented by that City’s gay community early yesterday morning. The shooter was killed by police. The incident was the largest mass shooting in American history. According to investigators, the suspected shooter had declared allegiance to ISIS, suffered from mental issues, but was still able to acquire an AR-15 assault rifle, which he apparently used in the massacre.
Mayor Baraka issued an attached statement denouncing the shooting for its violence, and assailed bigotry, homophobia, gun violence, and the accessibility of assault rifles to unstable and dangerous people. He called upon residents to join in the vigil.
In addition to the vigil, flags at City Hall are to be flown at half-mast today in solidarity with the rest of the country.
Who: Mayor Ras J. Baraka
City of Newark LGBTQ Commission
What: Will hold a vigil to honor the victims of yesterday morning’s mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.
When: Monday, June 13
Where: City Hall Front Steps
920 Broad Street
MEDIA NOTES: Media parking will be available in streets and lots in the neighborhood.
For more information, contact the Press Information Office – (973) 733-8004.
For more information on the City of Newark, please visit our website at www.ci.newark.nj.us
Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cityofnewarknj
MAYOR RAS J. BARAKA’S STATEMENT ON VIGIL
FOR ORLANDO SHOOTING VICTIMS
“Tonight, with the support of our LGBTQ Commission, the City of Newark and its diverse and united people will respond with love and prayer for the victims in Orlando by holding a vigil on the steps of City Hall. I urge all of Newark to join me at this vigil in sending our condolences and support to the victims, and a firm message to the world: Newark stands opposed to gun violence, homophobia, and bigotry.
“Early yesterday morning this nation saw one of the bloodiest mass shooting incidents in American history, which has left 50 dead, many more gravely wounded, families devastated, and a country in shock again. This ghastly horror is the result of many things – bigotry, the accessibility of assault rifles to unstable and dangerous people, homophobia, and appalling divisions and splinterings in our country that are making it impossible to reach unity. The result is pain and suffering, all of it utterly unnecessary and preventable.
“How many more lives must be needlessly lost before Congress takes action to impose even the most basic, common sense, and bipartisan reforms on the sale and distribution of guns? I call upon the Congress to respond to this horror with actions, not words, with legislation, not rhetoric. When will enough truly be enough? I have ordered the flags at Newark City Hall to be flown at half-mast in solidarity with the rest of the country.”
– NEWARK –
Washington, D.C. (June 13, 2016) — The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) joins the nation in mourning yesterday’s tragic mass shooting at the Orlando, Florida Pulse nightclub which claimed at least fifty lives.
The tragedy took place during LGBT Pride Month, which commemorates the successes and struggles of LGBT Americans. America’s mayors have been at the forefront of advancing LGBT rights, enacting LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances and human rights laws decades before legal protections were established at the state or federal level. Even today, as multiple states seek to turn back the clock on recent US Supreme Court decisions advancing LGBT equality, mayors continue to lead the fight to uphold the dignity of all residents.
According to press reports, the shooter in yesterday’s tragedy was able to acquire a military-grade firearm despite numerous red flags in his background. While solutions for confronting gun violence will vary, AAMA mayors are united in their resolve for action to eliminate senseless gun violence deaths.
Our mayors are actively responding to the Orlando tragedy in their communities. AAMA President Sly James (Kansas City, MO) has declared today a “Rainbow Day” in his city, urging Kansas City residents to wear rainbows and illuminating many local landmarks in rainbow colors in solidarity with the victims. In a local press interview, he further noted: “I don’t care how you look at it, slice it or dice it, weapons [are] in the hands of idiots, haters, bigots and fools. People will die. We have to stop it.”
CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield Introduces Resolution Honoring the Life and Legacy of Muhammad AliWASHINGTON, D.C. – On yesterday, June 7, 2016, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) introduced a resolution honoring the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali:“Muhammad Ali, who was referred to as ‘‘The Greatest of All Time,’’ was not only a champion in the boxing ring, but a champion of human and civil rights who, during a difficult time in American history, stood on principle to end racism and bigotry. More than a boxing legend, Mr. Ali was a humanitarian of the world and his talents transcended the ring into the global community where he selflessly put the interests of helping others above his own. He was a great American, the greatest among athletes of his time and a true champion for humanity. I join my House colleagues to honor the extraordinary life, accomplishments, and countless contributions to humanity made by the incomparable Muhammad Ali.Click here to view text of the resolution in its entirety.# # #Since its establishment in 1971, Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) have joined together to empower America’s neglected citizens and address their legislative concerns. For more than 40 years, the CBC has consistently been the voice for people of color and vulnerable communities in Congress and has been committed to utilizing the full Constitutional power and statutory authority of the United States government to ensure that all U.S. citizens have an opportunity to achieve the American Dream. To learn more about the Congressional Black Caucus, visit http://cbc-butterfield.
U.S. Labor Department announces availability of $80M in grants to provide job, leadership skills among disadvantaged youth
YouthBuild programs help fill educational gaps to drive career success
Today, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the availability of $80 million in grant funding to support and expand YouthBuild programs nationwide. For those programs that offer the “YouthBuild Construction Plus” model, participating youth can take advantage of expanded occupational skills training in additional in-demand occupations, such as health care, information technology or logistics.
Grants awarded through this funding opportunity will range from $700,000 to $1.1 million each to about 80 organizations to provide education and employment services to disadvantaged youth in their communities.
This year’s funding availability completes implementation of the 2014 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act by incorporating the requirements of WIOA performance measures. Additional important changes to the program this year include:
– The inclusion of priority consideration points for applicants in a federally-designated Promise Zone.
– A clarification to the classification of “Category A” and “Category B” applicants to allow applicants that have previously received DOL YouthBuild funds, but not since 2009 or earlier, to be considered as new applicants.
– The use of zip codes to identify target community service areas.
– The requirement of key personnel, including a job developer.
YouthBuild is a non-residential, community-based alternative education program that provides classroom instruction and occupational skills training in construction and other in-demand occupations to at-risk youth and young adults from ages 16 to 24. Participants learn valuable skills as they build or rehabilitate housing for low-income or homeless individuals and families in their communities.
The goal of this grant also aligns closely with President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative which seeks to close opportunity gaps still faced by too many young people and often by boys and young men of color.
For additional information on grant eligibility and how to apply for funds, visithttp://www.grants.gov. If you have any questions or are interested in additional information, please email Eduardo Cisneros atCisneros.Eduardo@dol.gov.
Contact: Donald Gatlin, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-587-2871
Mayors Will Address Intractable Policy Challenges Facing Municipalities
WASHINGTON, DC— Over 150 participants including African American Mayors, Members of Congress, and Administration officials convened at the African American Mayors Association Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. last week, to discuss and develop solutions to a variety of intractable policy challenges facing the nation’s cities. The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) is the only organization exclusively representing the over 500 African-American mayors across the United States.
Kansas City Mayor, Sly James, was sworn-in as the new AAMA President on Friday. He said, “We must keep our citizens safe by taking guns out of the hands of those who commit crimes; support civil rights laws that treat all members of our communities with fairness and dignity; provide access to early childhood education that ensures all children are able to read at grade level; and embrace technology as a driving force in our communities.”
At this year’s conference, the Mayors committed to fierce advocacy for the passage of a federal criminal justice reform bill to create local programs to support citizens reentering their communities from the criminal justice system, and to dedicate resources to improving the relationship between citizens and law enforcement. The Mayors also met with officials at The White House to discuss the advancement of the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative; the obstruction of Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court; and to advocate for improvements in the federal process for ensuring that resources for disaster relief more quickly and effectively reach the communities they are intended to serve.
The conference theme, “The Urgency of Now”, is a reflection on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s description of our nation’s tumultuous socio-political environment at the time that he delivered his “I have a Dream” speech in 1963, and a recognition that the need for change in African American communities remains urgent over 50 years later.
U.S. Secretary of Education, John B. King; Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC); Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO); and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, Gina McCarthy, were among a host of other high-level federal officials who participated in the conference this year. Conference sessions focused on addressing the overrepresentation of African Americans in the criminal justice system; the degradation of the educational system in African American communities; the alarming rates at which African Americans suffer community violence; and addressed ways in which cities can partner with the private sector to provide jobs and resources to their communities.
“We have great momentum and I will pursue many of the priorities we advanced during the past year,” said Mayor James. “Criminal justice reform will remain a primary legislative priority for AAMA, and I will be a tireless advocate for sentencing reform and other criminal justice measures that are supported by facts, fairness and reality.”
The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) is the only organization exclusively representing over 500 African-American mayors across the United States. AAMA seeks to empower local leaders for the benefit of their citizens. The role of the AAMA includes taking positions on public policies that impact the vitality and sustainability of cities; providing mayors with leadership and management tools; and creating a forum for member mayors to share best practices related to municipal management.
|Thursday, April 21|
|10:30am – 12:00pm||Conference Registration|
|12:00pm – 1:30pm||Welcome Lunch Sponsored by AT&T|
|1:30pm- 2:15pm||Plenary Session 1: Education|
|2:15pm – 3:00pm||Plenary Session 2: Job Creation and Public-Private Partnerships|
|3:00pm – 3:15pm||Break|
|3:00pm – 3:15pm||Nominating Committee Meeting|
|3:15pm – 4:00pm||Workshop 1: City Resource Center|
|3:15pm – 4:00pm||Workshop 2: Ballard Spahr LLP|
|4:00pm – 4:45pm||Workshop 3: Senior Mayors Forum|
|4:00pm – 4:45pm||Workshop 4: NLC Education|
|4:45pm – 5:30pm||Workshop 5: Cities United|
|4:45pm – 5:30pm||Workshop 6: Reentering Citizens|
|5:30pm – 6:00pm||Annual Meeting|
|6:30pm- 7:30pm||Women Mayor’s Committee Reception – Aetna|
|7:30pm – 9:00pm||AAMA Keynote Dinner and Awards Reception by Waste Management|
|Friday, April 22|
|7:00am – 8:00am||Breakfast for Conference Attendees|
|7:00am-8:00am||Business Council Breakfast (Invited Guests Only)|
|8:15am – 11:45am||White House Visit (Registered Mayors Only)|
|12:30pm-2:00pm||Closing Luncheon and Gavel Ceremony by Casey Family Programs|