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.”



U.S. Treasury’s CDFI Fund Partners With Private Sector And Municipalities To Invest In Community Development, Jobs Growth And Affordable Housing


WASHINGTON- 2016 marked a banner year for the United States Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund).  In total, the CDFI Fund invested over $500 million in financial assistance, technical assistance and loan guarantees to over 200 CDFIs, including Native CDFIs, through the CDFI Program, Native Initiatives, Capital Magnet Fund and Bond Guarantee Program. These resources will be leveraged many times over to improve economic growth in underserved communities. It is hoped that 2017 will bring more of the same focus on promoting economic prosperity.

CDFIs are private sector financial institutions that invest in economically distressed communities. Once certified by the Treasury Department, CDFIs are eligible to apply for funding through a highly competitive application and selection process administered by the CDFI Fund.  CDFIs leverage their awards with capital from other investors to support small businesses, affordable housing, community health centers, grocery stores, child care facilities, and other economic development initiatives that contribute to economic revitalization.

In addition, the CDFI Fund allocated a record-breaking $7 billion in tax credits through the New Markets Tax Credit Program.  Municipalities, through subsidiary corporations, can be certified as Community Development Entities (CDEs) making them eligible to apply for New Markets Tax Credits. To date, the New Markets Tax Credit program has allocated $50.5 billion in tax credits, helping generate $8 of private investment for every dollar invested by the federal government.

Since the program’s inception in 1994, the CDFI Fund has helped build a nation-wide network of over 1,000 CDFIs committed to ensuring that underserved areas have access to affordable financial services products.

Open Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump

Dear President-Elect Donald J. Trump,

Upon your election, you told the world that you intended to be a president for all Americans. We welcomed and were somewhat relieved by that statement. However, since making that statement, some of your supporters have made it clear that they do not honor your pledge.

According to the latest numbers released by the FBI, anti-Muslim hate crimes in the United States rose by 67 percent – from 154 incidents in 2014, to 257 in 2015. This recent uptick in hate crime across America is widely viewed as a consequence of the divisive tone and statements that characterized your presidential campaign. Classroom teachers have openly intimidated Muslim children by calling them “terrorists” and telling them they would be deported once you took office. All of this is happening in your name.

Vicious attacks have been perpetrated on African Americans, Hispanics, and Muslim people on the streets. Women in hijabs have been physically assaulted and threatened as they attempt to do nothing more than go about the business of their lives. Places of worship have been desecrated with hateful graffiti. Again, all in your name.

While we applaud your recent entreaty to your supporters to “stop it,” we believe you must go further and acknowledge your role in inspiring and uplifting their animus in the first place. You have consistently given tacit approval of these provocative actions with the divisive and hateful rhetoric you relied upon throughout your campaign. Your calls to “stop it” should at least be as strident and loud as your campaign rhetoric.

As municipal leaders, the members of the African American Mayors Association build relationships across party lines to serve our constituents. Our mayors, as part of a diverse bipartisan group of elected officials, recently met with Republican National Committee leaders to hopefully foster a shared vision of America’s future. Our country’s success must be inclusive, and encourage all Americans to live their hopes instead of their fears.

In the early days of your transition to power, a very disturbing trend has already emerged. This includes your appointment of Stephen Bannon, a White nationalist, as chief strategist and senior counsel to your administration, drawing up a plan to register all Muslims, threatening mass deportations, and naming Jeff Sessions as your choice for U.S. Attorney General.

As president-elect, you must act decisively before the country spirals further into discord. Now is the time for you to make uniting the country an urgent priority, not to sit idly by while hatred and intolerance rage.

We call upon you to appoint people to your transition team and to cabinet-level positions that represent the whole of this nation, rather than extreme factions. We ask you to work with mayors and other policymakers to ensure that the policies that your administration pursue lead us collectively on a path to prosperity and indeed make America great. We, the members of AAMA, representing over 500 mayors from across this great nation, offer our help and support in making America greater than it has ever been.

We are watching and waiting for you to act as the leader you claimed you would be. Count on us to hold you accountable on behalf of our constituents.

Mayor Sly James
Kansas City, Missouri
President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA)

The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) is the only organization exclusively representing African-American mayors in the United States. AAMA exists to empower local leaders for the benefit of their citizens. For more information, visit the AAMA website

See the letter on (Dec 6, 2016):

Media Statement on Clemency Letter to POTUS

On behalf of the 500 African American mayors across the country, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the Mayor of Baltimore and the head of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA) clemency initiative issued the following statement in light of AAMA submitting a letter to the President highlighting a priority list of clemency applications:

“Black Mayors across the country applaud and strongly support President Obama’s administration’s significant initiatives to address policies confronting the criminal justice system, many of which disproportionately impact African American men and women who reside in our cities. This is President Obama’s last window of opportunity to provide clemency for the next four or possibly eight years.

Working with the Justice Roundtable, a collective of over 100 organizations working to reform criminal justice laws, we have identified a priority list of clemency petitions from individuals whom we would welcome back into our communities. We feel that special consideration should be given to certain categories of applicants as well, such as the elderly and women. There are also non-citizens, some of whom wish to return to their home countries, where our tax-paying citizens are paying for their continued incarceration.

We are thrilled with President Obama, the White House Counsel’s Office, the OPA and the DOJ with the accelerated pace of commutations and we submit that there be an “all out all hands on deck” policy to commute the sentences of as many people consistent with public safety before January 20th. The President can take this action without the need Senate confirmation as in Supreme Court nominations, and he doesn’t have to rely on Congress to pass legislation.

We as mayors have witnessed firsthand the devastation drugs have caused, but we also bear witness to the harm that has come from the war on drugs. Harsh and lengthy sentences have snatched mothers from children, men from loved ones, furthered the destabilization of families and communities in our cities, and caused the displacement of our constituents in federal facilities throughout the country.

Our staff has reviewed the petitions of each of these candidates, and we implore the President to give them consideration as he winds down the last two months of his historic presidency.”