African American Mayors Association to Hold Press Conference Call

The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) will host a conference call with reporters to highlight the impact of the President’s trade agenda on America’s cities. Today, AAMA released a statement urging passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation. AAMA mayors will be joined by US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, underscoring the President’s commitment to ensuring American cities are connected to global economic opportunities.


WHO:            U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx

AAMA President Mayor Steve Benjamin (Columbia, SC)

AAMA Board of Trustees Member Mayor Bill Bell (Durham, NC)

AAMA Member Mayor Marilyn Strickland (Tacoma, WA)

WHAT:       Conference Call

WHEN:       Tuesday, June 9th at 1:00PM Eastern Time

Please RSVP to Everton Morris, AAMA Deputy Executive Director ( ) for call-in information.

AAMA Statement on TPA-2015 Legislation

With economic growth and job creation as top priorities for mayors nationwide, it is time for Congress to consider and approve Trade Promotion Authority legislation (TPA-2015) and its potential to further unlock the economic potential of American businesses and workers through President Obama’s trade agenda.

Mayors throughout America agree that world trade is a very important element of success in attracting jobs and investment to our communities. Many US cities have experienced significant increases in exports in recent years, and are home to numerous businesses linked to international commerce. Those experiences, and the results reflected in the numbers, must be a major factor as Congress moves forward on TPA-2015.

AAMA strongly supports enforceable labor and environmental provisions in trade agreements that raise global standards and respect local regulations. TPA-2015 sets forth a strong process to advance the interests of American cities, companies, and workers. Moreover, TPA-2015 creates a timeline for concerns to be considered and addressed before a final trade agreement receives approval, ensuring the voices of American mayors, workers, and advocacy groups are heard. With TPA-2015 allowing only a final up-or-down vote by Congress, our foreign negotiating partners have the highest incentive to give the United States their best offers.

In the 21st century global marketplace, we simply cannot afford the years-long trade agreement battles of the past, as foreign rivals will continue to be aggressive in seizing opportunities from American businesses and workers. With TPA-2015 passed by Congress and signed into law, the United States will have the tools needed to build strong agreements that encourage new business opportunities and create jobs in our cities.

Documentary “MAYNARD” on former Atlanta Mayor Maynard H. Jackson, Jr. Announced



Atlanta, GA) January 19, 2015—Auburn Avenue films produces the theatrical documentary about the life and legacy of Atlanta’s first African-American Mayor, Maynard Holbrook Jackson Jr. The documentary, MAYNARD, is currently in pre-production led by an Oscar nominated and Emmy award-winning team. MAYNARD offers an introspective look into the life of the political and business titan who became Atlanta’s first African-American Mayor.

“My father fought the good fight for equal opportunity especially for African Americans. He believed the way to accomplish that was through the power of the vote, economic strength and educational achievement or, the ballot, the book and the buck, as he put it,” said Brooke Jackson Edmond, daughter of Mayor Jackson. “All Atlantans have benefitted from his work as have countless others far beyond Atlanta. There is a thriving African-American business class largely because of Maynard Jackson.”

MAYNARD will be produced by Auburn Avenue Films; one of Atlanta’s newest production companies. The production team includes Executive Producers: Wendy Eley Jackson; Maynard H. Jackson, III; Elizabeth Jackson Hodges; Howie Hodges, and Brooke Jackson Edmond. Oscar-nominated producer/director/editor Samuel D. Pollard will direct the film, and Emmy and Peabody Award-winner Sheila Curran Bernard has been tapped as writer. Winsome Sinclair, C.S.A. joins the production as casting director along with Donald Jarmond as co-producer. An official release date has not been announced.

Mayor Jackson was known as a charismatic and compassionate leader who served a record three terms as Atlanta’s mayor. He is credited with building the world’s busiest airport; leading the crusade to bring the 1996 Olympics to Atlanta; revitalizing downtown Atlanta as a thriving business and residential community; and redeveloping more than 20 of Atlanta’s historic neighborhoods. Yet, in spite of his professional success there were personal challenges as well.

“Most people only remember the public side of Maynard Jackson, Jr. but they never saw the man who struggled with the loss of his own father at the age of 15, the brother who buried two sisters, the husband went through divorce, or the father who feared he would lose his only son,” said Maynard H. Jackson, III, son of Mayor Jackson. “In this documentary you will definitely see the giant of a mayor but, more importantly, you see the giant of a real man.”

MAYNARD offers an intimate view of Jackson from those who knew him best. The film will include personal family photos and rare interviews with his two former wives, his five children, his siblings as well as many of Jackson’s close associates and confidants.

“We want people to know how much he cared for all people in the city that he loved,” said Elizabeth Hodges, oldest daughter of Mayor Jackson. “He wanted everyone leading successful and fulfilled lives.”

Auburn Avenue Films Inc. is an Atlanta based television and film company specializing in development, production, and post production.


For More Information                                                       

Desiree Robinson, Publicist
404-713-0980 (cell)

Grant Program RFP: Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), USDA Forest Service (USFS), the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Corporation for National and Community Service, FedEx, Southern Company, Bank of America and PG&E are pleased to solicit applications for the 2015 Five Star/Urban Waters Restoration Program. NFWF anticipates that approximately $2,000,000 in combined total funding will be available for this round of grants.


The Five Star & Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program seeks to develop community capacity to sustain local natural resources for future generations by providing modest financial assistance to diverse local partnerships, particularly in underserved communities, for wetland, volunteer water quality monitoring, green infrastructure and stormwater management, projects that keep trash from entering waterways, riparian, forest and coastal habitat restoration, and urban wildlife conservation.


This RFP closes February 2, 2015. For more information go to

Also on the NFWF Website:


My Brother’s Keeper Call Tomorrow – Nov 6 at 12pm ET

Please join us to get updates and share best practices on the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Community Challenge.  Representatives of the White House will be available to answer your questions directly.

Date:  TOMORROW, November 6, 2014
Time:  11am -11:30am CT / 12pm -12:30pm ET
Dial-in:  605-477-2100 / passcode 931207
MBK Community Challenge Local Action Summit – Report your summit date:
As a reminder, the White House has asked that you provide the date and location of your local action summit for the MBK Community Challenge, if you have not done so already.  Please submit your date by emailing, copying as soon as possible.  Representatives of the White House are making efforts to attend some of the summits nationwide.
Please contact Stephanie Mash,, with any questions.


Oct. 21, 2014

Contact: DHS Press Office, (202) 282-8010

Today, as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s ongoing response to prevent the spread of Ebola to the United States, we are announcing travel restrictions in the form of additional screening and protective measures at our ports of entry for travelers from the three West African Ebola-affected countries. These new measures will go into effect tomorrow.

Last week, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DHS implemented enhanced screening measures at five airports around the country – New York’s JFK, Newark, Dulles, Atlanta and Chicago. Passengers flying into one of these airports from flights originating in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are subject to secondary screening and added protocols, including having their temperature taken, before they can be admitted into the United States. These airports account for about 94 percent of travelers flying to the United States from these countries. At present there are no direct, non-stop commercial flights from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea to any airport in the United States. 

Today, I am announcing that all passengers arriving in the United States whose travel originates in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea will be required to fly into one of the five airports that have the enhanced screening and additional resources in place. We are working closely with the airlines to implement these restrictions with minimal travel disruption. If not already handled by the airlines, the few impacted travelers should contact the airlines for rebooking, as needed.

We currently have in place measures to identify and screen anyone at all land, sea and air ports of entry into the United States and who we have reason to believe has been present in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea in the preceding 21 days.

Yesterday I had a conference call with our CBP officers at the five enhanced screening airports. I was impressed by their professionalism, and their training and preparation for the enhanced screening. I reminded our CBP officers to be vigilant in their efforts, and encouraged them to set a calm example for an American public nervous about Ebola. I thanked these men and women for their service.

We are continually evaluating whether additional restrictions or added screening and precautionary measures are necessary to protect the American people and will act accordingly.

HUD Announces $24 Million in Grants for Jobs Plus Pilot Program for Public Housing Agencies

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has published a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) of $24 million in grants for its Jobs Plus Pilot Program for public housing agencies to cultivate locally-based methods to grow incomes and employment for their residents. According to the notice, “The NOFA will fund initiatives to advance employment and earnings outcomes for Public Housing residents through supports such as work readiness, employer linkages, job placement and financial literacy.”

These grants will focus on the president’s  job-driven training checklist principals—labor market data, career pathways, work experience, access to training, and key partnerships—to ensure that public housing residents are connected to programs with the most accurate and updated job-seeker practices. 

Applications are due by Dec. 17, 2014.  For more information and to apply, click here.

Empowering Our Young People, and Stemming the Collateral Damage of Incarceration

by Roy L. Austin Jr., Karol Mason

Today, officials from the White House, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) welcomed a diverse group of federal officials, non-profit workers, faith leaders, school administrators, researchers, and child welfare advocates to the White House, to announce a series of steps aimed at providing stronger support to help children with incarcerated parents succeed, and overcome the unique obstacles they often face.

President Obama has been committed since day one of his presidency to the idea that every child should have an equal opportunity to learn, grow, dream, and thrive. Yet for children of incarcerated parents, this can seem like a far-off reality.

Nationally, more than 2.6 million children have a parent in prison, and approximately half of these children are under the age of 10 years old. Losing a parent to incarceration can result in devastating consequences for children, including poverty and housing instability. Nearly 20% of all children entering the child welfare system have an incarcerated parent, and a recent study suggests that children with parents in prison are at an increased risk for asthma, obesity, ADD/ADHD, depression, and anxiety.

Since taking office, President Obama has called for increases in the Bureau of Prisons budget to expand education programs that strengthen family and parental ties, and for demonstration grants within the Second Chance Act to enhance parental and family relationships for incarcerated parents as a re-entry strategy.

In a series of announcements today, the Department of Justice unveiled the newest round of grant awards from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Children of Incarcerated Parents Mentoring Demonstration Program, and the Second Chance Act – Strengthening Relationships Between Young Fathers and Their Children. In addition, the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, Charles Samuels, announced the creation of a new Reentry Resources Division at DOJ, and Pamela Hyde, Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at HHS announced new resources to help incarcerated parents with reentry and navigating the child welfare system.

The announcements were made as part of today’s White House event, which featured remarks by Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, and Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. The audience also heard from Miss America 2012, Laura Kaeppeler-Fleiss, who spoke on her personal experience as the child of an incarcerated parent.

Also featured during the event was the premiere of “Echoes of Incarceration,” a documentary film project commissioned by the Children’s Television Workshop (Sesame Street). “Echoes of Incarceration” provides intensive filmmaking and advocacy training to youth aged 16 to 22 to produce documentary films told from their own life experiences as children of incarcerated parents.

Each of us has a role to play in ensuring that children of incarcerated parents have the opportunity they deserve to live happy and successful lives. To learn more about President Obama’s leadership, the Administration’s efforts, or to look for ways to do your part,please visit the federal Children of Incarcerated Parents web portal here.

Roy L. Austin Jr. is the Deputy Assistant to the President for the Office of Urban Affairs, Justice, and Opportunity. Karol Mason is the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs.

Round 2 of Obamacare Enrollment Will Be Shorter and Harder

As states gear up for round two of Obamacare enrollment next month, they have their sights set on people like Miles Alva.
Alva, 28, works part-time at a video store and is about to graduate from Cal State Northridge. Getting insured is about the last thing on his mind.  
“It’s not a priority,” the television and cinema arts student said. “I am not interested in paying for health insurance right now.”
The second round of enrollment under the nation’s Affordable Care Act promises to be tougher than the first. Many of those eager to get covered already did, including those with health conditions that had prevented them from getting insurance in the past.
Read the rest:  Here

African American Mayors Association Supports the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Communities Challenge

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.