AAMA Statement on the Passing of Senator John McCain

(Washington, DC) Mayor Oliver Gilbert III of Miami Gardens, FL, President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), issued the following statement on the passing of Senator John McCain (R-AZ):

“Patriotism has no color, race, party affiliation, or political ideology. Senator John McCain loved this country and sacrificed for it through service. He gave his energy, effort, enthusiasm, and blood to ensure that America’s greatness was perpetual, and our freedoms were secure. America is diminished by his passing. The African American Mayors Association surrenders to his homecoming.”

AAMA Passes Resolution to Address Black Maternal Health Crisis

August 20th, 2018

(Washington, DC) Last week, the African American Mayors Association (AAMA) passed a resolution that commits its mayors to working with local health officials and community health organizations to develop an action plan to reduce disparities in maternal health outcomes, especially as it relates to Black women.

“Our country is currently facing a Black maternal health crisis because according to the CDC, Black mothers are dying at a staggering three to four times the rate of white mothers, and something must be done to remedy this issue,” said Mayor Oliver Gilbert, President of the African American Mayors Association. “As mayor’s, we’re committed to doing everything within our power to ensure that all women, especially Black women, have equal access to quality and affordable health care to ensure safe pregnancies. This is why we passed a resolution to not only show our commitment to addressing this issue, but also reinforce that we will work diligently to reduce racial disparities in maternalhealth outcomes.”

The resolution that was passed calls for members of AAMA to work through the local, state, and federal legislative processes to ensure maternal mortality rates for African American women are closely monitored and adequate precautionary measures are enacted. In addition, AAMA will support funding for the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant Program, which provides funding for communities to work towards reducing infant mortality, and improve the health of pregnant women.

This resolution comes after Mayor Bowser announced earlier this year that she’s hosting a Maternal and Infant Health Summit in Washington, DC in September with Mayors and leaders from across the country, including the African American Mayors Association.

Mayor Gilbert Lays Out Vision for 2018-2019 Year

For Immediate Release: August 14, 2018

Contact: Donald Gatlin, dgatlin@rabengroup.com, 202-587-2871

Ryan Daniels, rdaniels@rabengroup.com, 919-414-7621


Mayor Gilbert Lays Out Vision for 2018-2019 Year

African American Mayors Association Also Names Five New Board of Trustee Members


(Washington, DC) Today, Mayor Oliver Gilbert III of Miami Gardens, FL, President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), laid out his vision and agenda for his tenure as President.


Mayor Gilbert said, “I’m honored to be the new President of AAMA and excited to build on the ambitious agenda of Mayor Harp to strengthen our cities across America. That agenda includes an emphasis on economic and workforce development policies, such as skills training and small business support to prepare our cities for the future of work. We will continue to engage on criminal justice reform by working to improve community policing and reducing gun violence.


“In a world driven by technological advancements, we will focus on leveraging technology to increase the effectiveness of local government interventions, encouraging technology companies to be more inclusive, and increasing access to technology by expanding 5G and broadband implementation. And, because everyone should have an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of city life, we will remain focused on increasing access to affordable housing in cities throughout America.”


In addition to laying out his agenda, Mayor Gilbert announced that the following mayors were elected to the AAMA Board of Trustees during the 2018 Annual Conference:

Mayor Joseph Barnes (Urbancrest, OH)

Mayor Wayne Messam (Miramar FL)

Mayor Catherine Pugh (Baltimore, MD)

Mayor Eulis Willis (Navassa, NC)

Mayor Randall Woodfin (Birmingham, AL)


“I am thrilled to enlist Mayors Barnes, Messam, Pugh, Willis, and Woodfin to our Board of Trustees. These exemplary Mayors are well-known for rolling up their sleeves and getting things done for their constituents. Their passion and talents will be tremendous assets to our organization,” said Mayor Gilbert.

Mayor Catherine Pugh of Baltimore, MD said, “As AAMA enters its fifth year, we have a unique opportunity to leverage the innovative best practices that are serving to move our communities forward. President Gilbert has set forth a bold vision that reaffirms AAMA’s importance and impact nationwide. I look forward to working closely with him and my AAMA colleagues as we assert policies and approaches that promote greater equity, greater opportunity, and greater quality of life.”

Mayor Randall Woodfin of Birmingham, AL said, “Mayors stand at the forefront of advancing and defending progress in our communities. That progress is rooted in sound economic development, an emphasis on public safety and a commitment to building smart cities. I look forward to President Gilbert’s leadership and partnering with my fellow mayors – the spirit of collaboration will push our cities forward.”




African American Mayors Association Expresses Deep Concern Over President Trump’s Executive Order On Family Separation

For Immediate Release: June 22, 2018

Contact: Donald Gatlin, dgatlin@rabengroup.com, 202-587-2871

          Ryan Daniels, rdaniels@rabengroup.com, 919-414-7621

 African American Mayors Association Expresses Deep Concern Over President Trump’s Executive Order On Family Separation

(WASHINGTON, DC) — The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) condemns the Administration’s continued “zero-tolerance” policy, which prohibits both attempted illegal entry and illegal entry into the United States. This policy has caused the inhumane separation between thousands of immigrant children and their parents in the last couple of months alone. According to the Department of Homeland Security, more than 2,300 immigrant children were separated from their parents between April and May of this year.


“Our actions, laws, policies, and regulations should all reflect our common values. Americans value family. Americans value humanity,” said Mayor Gilbert.  “We desire and promote these values not only for ourselves but for all people everywhere.”

“While the new executive order may halt some of these proceedings, thousands of families and children have already endured enough trauma and anguish for a lifetime.  I stand with mayors across the country in calling for an immediate plan for reunification of the over 2,000 children already separated from their families, and immediate action from Congress to ensure such abhorrent treatment of children never happens again.”




African American Mayors Association Applauds San Francisco Mayor-Elect London Breed 

For Immediate Release: June 15, 2018

 Contact: Donald Gatlin, dgatlin@rabengroup.com, 202-587-2871

               Ryan Daniels, rdaniels@rabengroup.com, 919-414-7621  

African American Mayors Association Applauds San Francisco

Mayor-Elect London Breed 

(WASHINGTON, DC) — On behalf of the 500 African American mayors across the country, Oliver Gilbert, Mayor of Miami Gardens, FL and President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), released the following statement following the election of London Breed as mayor-elect of San Francisco, CA:

“The  African American Mayors Association applauds London Breed on her victory, becoming the first African American woman to be elected mayor of San Francisco, CA. When she is sworn in on July 11, 2018, she will be one of five women mayors of the twenty largest U.S. cities. In addition, Breed will join twelve other black women mayors in leading cities with populations over 100,000. We commend London Breed on this historical win and look forward to her leadership as mayor.”


Flint Mayor Rejects Superfluous State Water Demands, African American Mayors Association Supports Mayor Weaver

For Immediate Release: June 14, 2018


Contact: Donald Gatlin, dgatlin@rabengroup.com, 202-587-2871

          Ryan Daniels, rdaniels@rabengroup.com, 919-414-7621


Flint Mayor Rejects Superfluous State Water Demands, African American Mayors Association Supports Mayor Weaver

(WASHINGTON, DC) — The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) expresses its support for Mayor Dr. Karen W. Weaver of Flint, Michigan, in her rejection of superfluous state oversight of the city’s water system. It is an undisputed fact that Flint’s lead-contaminated water crisis began while the city was under state control. In a letter to officials, including The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), Mayor Weaver declined to enter into a legal agreement with the state, citing that  “This man-made crisis occurred because the state, over the stringent objections of the city and its people, imposed its misguided policies on the people of the city of Flint.”

Mayor Weaver remains committed to remediating this crisis by working collaboratively with state and federal agencies. “However, this proposed [order] does nothing to substantively further the city’s recovery and instead appears to be retaliatory and punitive” Mayor Weaver wrote.

“MDEQ’s proposed enforcement actions are unnecessary and unwarranted. MDEQ has been informed of the City’s action plans and implementation timeframes, and has agreed to those timeframes and plans. The need for this proposed ACO is thus suspect at best,” said Flint Mayor Dr. Karen W. Weaver. “I am also troubled by the timing of this proposed enforcement action, in the wake of the cessation of State funding for bottled water in Flint. During two years of collaborative remediation efforts, an ACO has not been necessary. Now, after the State and MDEQ have been publicly castigated for their abrupt and unilateral termination of bottled water funding, MDEQ proposes an ACO that raises no issues not previously agreed upon. I thus see this ACO as a deliberate and willful misuse of the DEQs’ authority for political purposes and not as a good faith effort to address the issues faced by the City of Flint.”

AAMA President Mayor Gilbert said, “We stand in solidarity with Mayor Dr. Weaver and her efforts to seek justice for her constituents. Her work exemplifies the power of local offices to advocate for the needs of all residents in our communities, especially the most vulnerable.”



African American Mayors Association Commends Unanimous Vote for Public Pension Changes

For Immediate Release: June 14, 2018

Contact: Donald Gatlin,dgatlin@rabengroup.com, 202-587-2871

Ryan Daniels,rdaniels@rabengroup.com, 919-414-7621

African American Mayors Association Commends Unanimous Vote for Public Pension Changes

The U.S. Conference of Mayors agree to support increased recruitment of diverse asset managers

(Washington, DC) This week, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) voted unanimously to support an initiative aimed at ensuring diverse-owned asset management firms have a greater opportunity to manage public funds. The measure follows a similar resolution adopted by the African American Mayors Association (AAMA) last year.

Diverse-owned firms exhibit strong returns, but are dramatically underrepresented in the asset management industry. Studies that have analyzed the utilization and performance of diverse-owned asset management firms reveal that their performance is on par with, or even better than, their non-diverse counterparts. Despite their high performance, a recent study commissioned by the Knight Foundation found that diverse-owned firms manage just 1.1 percent of $71 trillion in assets under management in the U.S.

Last year, then AAMA president, Mayor Toni Harp of New Haven, CT called for a nationwide change in inadequate asset manager hiring practices, after she successfully implemented an effort to dramatically increase the use of diverse-owned asset management firms who service New Haven. Under Mayor Harp’s leadership, the New Haven City Council passed a measure that guides city investors to consider “emerging managers” among the firms they hire to manage the city’s pension fund.

She challenged all of her fellow mayors in the AAMA to introduce similar language into their pension investment policies, calling upon trustees to consider allocating assets to diverse-owned firms, as well as firms that have less than $3 billion in assets under management, or shorter track records.

“As mayors, we are committed to ensuring that municipal policies reflect the diversity of thought and experiences that make U.S. cities dynamic places to live and work,” said Mayor Oliver Gilbert, President for the African American Mayors Association. “It is our responsibility to continue to advocate for practices that level the playing field for diverse entrepreneurs, asset managers and businesses.”

The USCM and AAMA resolutions support the efforts of the Diverse Asset Managers Initiative (DAMI), a partnership of financial services professionals; institutional investors; corporations; labor unions; university and philanthropic endowments; investment consulting firms and investment industry organizations; committed to raising awareness about the benefits and opportunities of investing funds with diverse-owned asset management firms.

“Central in all that we do as mayors is to secure and promote the hopes and dreams of the people who built the foundation we stand on today. One of the ways we do this is by protecting their wealth and the wealth of their children’s children” said Mayor Steve Benjamin, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.


African American Mayors Association Names Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert as New President

For Immediate Release: April 27, 2018

African American Mayors Association Names Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert as New President

(WASHINGTON, DC) — Today, during the African American Mayors Association’s (AAMA) Annual Conference, “Building Bridges: Pathways to Progress,” Mayor Oliver Gilbert of Miami Gardens will be officially sworn in as the new President of the Association. Mayor Gilbert takes over the reigns of the organization from outgoing president, Mayor Toni Harp of New Haven, CT, who served a full one-year term.


“Becoming president of the African-American Mayors Association is an extraordinary honor,” said new AAMA President Mayor Oliver Gilbert of Miami Gardens Florida. “Over the next year we will continue the conversation of equity and equality that affects African Americans throughout the country. We will focus on the diversity of issues that speak to our growth and evolution. From housing to wealth building, public safety to innovation. We are whole and our interests and needs are diverse; so shall be our advocacy.”


Outgoing president, Mayor Toni Harp of New Haven, CT said, “I’m incredibly proud of the strides we have made this year to protect the well-being of our constituents in the face of unprecedented political tumult in Washington; and I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues and our allies to secure thriving futures for our cities and towns under the leadership of Mayor Gilbert.”


Mayor Gilbert will pick up where Mayor Harp left off, by connecting with mayors across America, encouraging them to participate in AAMA, and solidifying relationships with state-based organizations.

African American Mayors Cite Tremendous Concerns with President Trump’s Infrastructure Plan

Contact: Donald Gatlin, dgatlin@rabengroup.com, 202-587-2871
Evan Martinez, emartinez@rabengroup.com, 202-223-2610

(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 infrastructure plan:

“My colleagues and I are disappointed that President Trump failed to honor his promise to invest one trillion dollars in the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. His most recent plan is inadequate in the overall infrastructure funding it commits to provide, and especially inadequate in its lack of attention to the urgent infrastructure crisis facing American cities.

“The President’s plan purports to leverage state and local tax dollars, and private investment, to catapult a $200 billion federal government investment to a total of $1.5 trillion. But, the details of the plan do not support the viability of that goal for the vast majority of cities across the country. In reality, the plan only injects $200 billion of federal money for infrastructure improvements across the country, not the $1.5 trillion touted by the President.

“A key tenet of the President’s plan requires cities and states to demonstrate that they can match new federal dollars flowing their way. However, it is mathematically impractical, and fiscally irresponsible for midsize and small cities to generate the tax revenue and private investment they would need to be able to match the federal money. These cities do not have the populations, budgets, and corporate stakeholders their big city peers can leverage. Their circumstances make it far more difficult for them to raise enough tax and private money to meet the President’s requirements.

“Additionally, the plan does not cede enough control to city leaders to prioritize and allocate the meager funding the plan provides. Every day, mayors navigate the consequences of decades of federal underinvestment in cities. Mayors of the AAMA are on the ground and know best how to bring their cities into the 21st century. Yet, they are forced to navigate a patchwork of state laws that limit their authority to take action.

“According to the American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE), it will take $2 trillion to secure modern and viable infrastructure across the nation. Absent that level of investment, ASCE predicts $3.9 trillion in losses to the GDP, $7 trillion in lost business sales, and 2.5 million lost jobs over the next ten years. Accordingly, AAMA-members urge President Trump to act swiftly to avoid these severe economic consequences. The success of this plan will require that he acknowledge the central role cities play in the nation’s economic competitiveness, and honor his promise to dedicate enough federal money to sufficiently address urban infrastructure needs.”



African American Mayors Respond to the State of the Union Address

For Immediate Release: January 31, 2018
Contact: Donald Gatlin, dgatlin@rabengroup.com, 202-587-2871
Evan Martinez, emartinez@rabengroup.com, 202-223-2610
African American Mayors Respond to the State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON, DC – Mayor Toni Harp, President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA) released the following statement on behalf of more than 500 black mayors across the country in response to the State of the Union address.

“President Trump confidently declared that the state of the union is strong in his speech last night. But, as mayors, we see a different reality on the ground in our cities.

“So far, the President’s policy proposals haven’t done enough to ensure that every American has an equal opportunity to thrive. To the contrary, these policies are on track to exacerbate the economic, health, and employment challenges so many are struggling to overcome.

The President continues to promise that the recent tax reform bill will provide tremendous relief to families, but the bill mostly benefits the super wealthy and harms low-income Americans who will see their taxes increase overtime. The President’s tax bill actually harms American cities by  eliminating critical funding generated by state and local tax deductions which funds infrastructure projects, and ensures that citizens from a range of socio-economic backgrounds have access to the best possible educational opportunities. We cannot see how the President’s plan will deliver on his promise.

On the campaign trail, and in President Trump’s State of the Union address, he claimed that he will improve our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. But, his budget proposal slashes infrastructure programs that are crucial to the continued vitality of our cities. These infrastructure cuts include eliminating the Highway Trust Fund, and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which serves as a lifeline for nearly seven million families in communities struggling to pay for basic energy needs.

Finally, the President maintained his rebuke of hardworking immigrants by citing criminals and gang members as the justification for his shameful immigration policy. Nearly 44 million immigrants currently reside in the U.S., over 20 million of whom are naturalized citizens. Thirty six percent of U.S.-born children of immigrants are college graduates – five percent higher than the national average – and sixty four percent are homeowners, which is on-par with the national average. Immigrants are our neighbors, colleagues and friends. They are productive members of our society struggling to thrive in a system stacked against them. It is un-American to attack them. And, that’s why we are committed to protecting them when and how we can.”

We look forward to working with the President on these and a host of other issues that are important to the sustainability of our cities, and the prosperity of our constituents.