Washington, D.C. (September 30, 2014) – The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) commends President Obama on the launch of the My Brother’s Keeper Communities Challenge. The AAMA is committed to working with the White House and other national organizations to ensure that municipalities rise to the challenge to create a comprehensive plan of action to convene local leaders, assess current programing, and amplify initiatives that are successful in improving the lives of young men and boys of color.
AAMA President, Mayor William A. Bell, Sr. (Birmingham, Ala.) released the following statement: “As mayors, we must first hold ourselves and our cities accountable to ensure that our next generation does not fall through the cracks. Not on our watch. Over the next thirty days, we will be working hard to ensure our mayors are accepting the President’s Communities Challenge and are convening key stakeholder meetings in their cities. The My Brother’s Keeper Initiative is a key priority for AAMA.”
AAMA 1st Vice President Steve Benjamin (Columbia, S.C.) also offered the following remarks “The My Brother’s Keeper Communities Challenge is an extraordinary and historic initiative that demonstrates the importance of all cities coming together not only as a rescue mission for our some most vulnerable citizens, but also as treasure hunt to find our next generation of leaders among these boys and young men of color to cultivate. I proudly accept the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Communities Challenge and encourage all mayors to lead on this important issue.”
About the African American Mayors Association
African American Mayors Association (AAMA) is the only organization exclusively representing African-American mayors in the United States. African American Mayors Association exists to empower local leaders for the benefit of their citizens. The role of the African American Mayors Association 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.
William A. Bell, Sr., mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, and president of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), will be traveling to St. Louis County on Friday, August 29, 2014, to discuss the recent events in Ferguson, MO with officials and residents at the request of the Board of Trustees of the AAMA. He may also attend a rally in Clayton, MO.
As the leader of the nation’s only organization exclusively serving black mayors and the top elected official of one of the key cities involved in the Civil Rights Movement, Bell is uniquely qualified to offer perspective on the unrest, and strategies for reaching peace in Ferguson and other cities affected by this and similar tragedies. The goal of the visit is to begin to develop a tool-kit of strategies to prevent similar occurrences in communities across the United States.
The African American Mayors Association issued a statement Aug. 13 regarding the tragic death of Michael Brown and the resulting civil unrest.
From the President’s Statement at 12:49 pm
…. [First comments addressed Iraq]
Now, second, I want to address something that’s been in the news over the last couple of days and that’s the situation in Ferguson, Missouri. I know that many Americans have been deeply disturbed by the images we’ve seen in the heartland of our country, as police have clashed with people protesting. Today, I’d like us all to take a step back and think about how we’re going to be moving forward.
This morning, I received a thorough update on the situation from Attorney General Eric Holder, who has been following it and been in communication with his team. I’ve already tasked the Department of Justice and the FBI to independently investigate the death of Michael Brown, along with local officials on the ground.
The Department of Justice is also consulting with local authorities about ways that they can maintain public safety without restricting the right of peaceful protest and while avoiding unnecessary escalation. I made clear to the Attorney General that we should do what is necessary to help determine exactly what happened, and to see that justice is done.
I also just spoke with Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri. I expressed my concern over the violent turn that events have taken on the ground, and underscored that now is the time for all of us to reflect on what’s happened, and to find a way to come together going forward. He is going to be traveling to Ferguson. He is a good man and a fine governor, and I’m confident that, working together, he is going to be able to communicate his desire to make sure that justice is done and his desire to make sure that public safety is maintained in an appropriate way.
Of course, it’s important to remember how this started. We lost a young man, Michael Brown, in heartbreaking and tragic circumstances. He was 18 years old. His family will never hold Michael in their arms again. And when something like this happens, the local authorities –- including the police -– have a responsibility to be open and transparent about how they are investigating that death, and how they are protecting the people in their communities.
More info: http://time.com/3111730/barack-obama-ferguson-michael-brown/
Many cities of our member mayors have been impacted by these events and subsequent unrest in their communities. We encourage those mayors, as well as leaders across the country, to lead our citizens in peaceful organizing, while also ensuring that these matters are thoroughly and justly investigated by law enforcement. The AAMA will continue to keep these young men, their families, and their communities in our thoughts and prayers.
– AAMA President William A. Bell, Sr. & the AAMA Board of Trustees
WASHINGTON— Attorney General Eric Holder released the following statement Monday regarding the shooting incident that took place Saturday afternoon in Ferguson, Missouri:
“The shooting incident in Ferguson, Missouri, this weekend deserves a fulsome review. In addition to the local investigation already underway, FBI agents from the St. Louis field office, working together with attorneys from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, have opened a concurrent, federal inquiry. The federal investigation will supplement, rather than supplant, the inquiry by local authorities. At every step, we will work with the local investigators, who should be prepared to complete a thorough, fair investigation in their own right. I will continue to receive regular updates on this matter in the coming days. Aggressively pursuing investigations such as this is critical for preserving trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”
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