Statement by Mayor Harp of African American Mayors Association on the White Supremacist Attacks in Charlottesville


(Washington, DC) Mayor Toni Harp, President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), issued the following statement today on the racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia:


“As President of the African American Mayors Association and the Mayor of New Haven, CT, I condemn bigotry and hatred in all forms. We will learn more about the details of what occurred in Charlottesville, but it is clear—what we have seen this weekend is a reminder of a dark chapter in American history. The car that plowed through a group of peaceful civilians appears to be an act of domestic terrorism. If that proves to be the case, we call on city, state, and federal officials to pursue that offender with the full force of the law. We also express our condolences for the lives lost from the crash of a state police helicopter monitoring the situation.”


“Those of us who work in politics debate over policies, tactics, and priorities everyday. That is not what the mob in Virginia was engaged in this weekend. This white nationalist movement by— the ‘Alt-right,’ Neo-Nazi, and white supremacists—challenges the very foundation of our civilization. Will we value every citizen? Will all Americans have a chance to participate in the benefits of our country? How we choose to answer these questions will determine the future of American life.  The African American Mayors Association stands with those on the side of freedom, justice, and equality and against those rallying for hate.”



African American Mayors Association Statement on Introduction of Senate Bail Reform Bill

For Immediate Release: July 27, 2017

Contact: Donald Gatlin, dgatlin@rabengroup.com202-587-2871

           Mia Jacobs, mjacobs@rabengroup.com201-919-0333


African American Mayors Association Statement on Introduction of Senate Bail Reform Bill

(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 Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Rand Paul’s introduction of a bill to reform money bail practices:


“The African American Mayors Association applauds Senator Harris and Senator Paul for their leadership in introducing the Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act. Money bail systems across the country violate the spirit of due process, cruelly and disproportionately punishing poor people and people of color. As Senator Harris cited upon the bill’s introduction, more than 450,000 Americans are currently held in jail before a trial. A criminal justice system that imprisons people who cannot afford an exorbitant and arbitrary sum of money is no justice system at all. Bail reform must be included in larger criminal justice reform, and we call on the Senate to pass today’s bill as part of that effort.”


Statement on President Trump’s Transgender Military Ban Announcement

For Immediate Release: July 26, 2017

Contact: Donald Gatlin, dgatlin@rabengroup.com202-587-2871

           Mia Jacobs, mjacobs@rabengroup.com201-919-0333

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.”


President of African American Mayors Association Leads Reform of City Pension Investment Policy with Potential for Nationwide Impact

For Immediate Release: June 27, 2017

Contact: Donald Gatlin,, 202-587-2871
Mia Jacobs,, 202-930-6818

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.


Statement on the Paris Agreement




June 1, 2017



EOM Communications (EOM) – (202) 727-5011;


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.”




Statement on the Confirmation of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General

The following is a statement by Mayor Sly James of Kansas City, MO, president of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA):

“Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee has confirmed Jeff Sessions as the next Attorney General of the United States. The African American Mayors Association is ready to work with him as our nation’s chief law enforcement officer to ensure that all members of our communities are afforded safety and justice.

AAMA has been actively involved in reforming our criminal justice system with stakeholders nationwide. It is our hope that Attorney General Sessions will continue the path of reform including ensuring sentencing is fair, particularly for first-time nonviolent offenders; allocating appropriate resources in the federal prison system to reduce recidivism; prioritizing positive community policing practices by strengthening the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS); initiating swift and thorough investigation of officer-involved shootings through the Civil Rights Division when appropriate; and keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people.

While we share concern about Sessions’ past statements and legislative history, AAMA will work tirelessly as an accountability partner to ensure that the office of the Attorney General seeks justice for all American people equally.

Letter in Opposition to Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General

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)

Statement on Ben Carson’s Nomination to Lead HUD


(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.”



Statement On The National Conference Of Black Mayors, Inc.

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.”

Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C. and Mayor Lovely Warren of Rochester, N.Y. Join African American Mayors Association Board of Trustees

(Washington, DC) Today, the African American Mayors Association (AAMA) Board of Trustees added two new members: Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C. and Mayor Lovely Warren of Rochester, N.Y. Both are pioneering leaders; Mayor Warren is the first woman to serve the city of Rochester in this role, and Mayor Bowser is only the second woman to serve the District. Both mayors bring with them a depth of policy experience and an important perspective from two of the Northeast’s largest cities. Mayors Bowser and Warren will join the current 15 members of the Board of Trustees to drive the strategic leadership of the organization, which represents the over 500 African American mayors across the country.
“I am thrilled that AAMA can now count these two illustrious leaders among our Board of Trustees,” said Mayor Sly James of Kansas City, MO., President of the African American Mayors Association. “Mayors Bowser and Warren have been important voices not only in the African American community, but in the community at large. They have committed years of service to Washington, D.C. and Rochester, N.Y., respectively, and they have records of real impact during their tenures. These accomplishments include building pathways to the middle-class, getting tough on ending homelessness and championing statehood for the District of Columbia. It is an honor to add two women leaders at the head of this organization. I’m very much looking forward to working with Mayor Bowser and Mayor Warren in the new year.”

“I’m honored to join the African American Mayors Association Board of Trustees,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C. “AAMA does essential work representing Black mayors from across the country in our nation’s capital and nationally. I look forward to working with Mayor James and the exemplary members of the Board to advance our policy work, build the network of the African American mayors, and advance excellence in the municipal leadership AAMA represents.”

“Never have local political activism and skilled municipal governing been more important or been more of a national focus,” said Mayor Lovely Warren of Rochester, N.Y. “It is this work to which AAMA has been committed since its inception, and its voice in the areas of diversity and inclusion, civil rights, and government is a testament to this commitment. I’m excited to join the Board of Trustees and get to work for our communities and our cities.”