Five-Point Plan to Stand Against Hate

(Washington, DC) In response to the events in Charlottesville, Mayor Toni Harp, President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), announced the organization’s five-point response plan. The full text of the plan is below.

“As more information about the events in Charlottesville becomes available, it is clear that the response from President Trump has been inadequate and disappointing,” said Mayor Harp. “If we cannot count on this Administration to unequivocally disavow such vile hate groups, state and local governments must lead the way.

“I urge all mayors and governors to adopt AAMA’s five point response plan which calls for: the immediate removal of confederate and nazi symbols; the removal from federal office Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller whose ideological extremism emboldens white supremacists; the provision of additional resources for law enforcement to identify hate groups; all corporations to stop the dissemination of tools of hate on their platforms; and for all public officials to disavow hate and racial violence as a prerequisite for running for office.”

Five-Point Plan to Stand Against Hate

1. Confederate and Nazi Symbols: We urge all cities and state legislatures to remove symbols of the Confederacy, Nazism, and other white supremacist groups from public spaces, which serve the joint purpose of intimidating citizens and emboldening such hate groups. We commend the cities of New Orleans, Baltimore, Lexington and others that have taken swift action;

2. Federal Action: We call on President Trump to (i) remove Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller for their ideological extremism that emboldens white supremacist and other hate groups; (ii) fully restore Countering Violent Extremism funds to combat white supremacists and neo-Nazis; and (iii) launch a coordinated federal effort in conjunction with local law enforcement officials to eliminate the growing threat from white supremacists;

3. Resources for Law Enforcement: We call on the federal government and local elected officials to direct additional law enforcement resources to (i) the identification and elimination of white supremacist, neo-Nazis and and other hate groups and related incidences of violence; and (ii) additional training of police officers for crowd and protest management;

4. Corporate Accountability: We call for a boycott of companies and vendors that advertise on radical websites and we urge all elected officials to work with influential companies to address ways to limit the influence of hate groups on their platforms. We commend companies such as Airbnb that have taken affirmative actions against white supremacist causes on their platforms; and

5. Get out the vote in 2018: We encourage all eligible persons to get registered to vote and demand any person running for elected office promote the causes of equality and justice and disavow hate and racial violence as a prerequisite for running for office.

    

Statements from Mayor Toni Harp and Mayor Sylvester Turner on Houston Flooding

Statement by Mayor Harp of African American Mayors Association On Houston Flooding

For Immediate Release: August 31, 2017

(Washington, DC) Mayor Toni Harp, President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), issued the following statement today on the flooding in Houston, TX:

“The people of greater Houston will be recovering from the havoc wrought by Hurricane Harvey for years. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those touched by the flooding during this difficult time. As painful as it is to see the disastrous effects of climate change play out before our eyes, it is heartening to see the way that Houstonians and people across the country are coming together in this moment to conduct rescues, lend support and resources, and care for neighbors and strangers alike.

“We commend Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, an AAMA member, on his remarkable and straightforward leadership at this difficult time. A natural disaster is unquestionably one of the greatest challenges any mayor must face: Mayor Turner remains committed to open lines of communication, keeping emergency management systems working, and caring for the people of Houston. We stand ready to help and will keep those affected in our thoughts and prayers.”

 

Mayor Turner Establishes Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund

HOUSTON – After receiving an overwhelming number of inquiries from citizens and corporations who would like to help, Mayor Sylvester Turner has established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund that will accept tax deductible flood relief donations. The fund is administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.

“We are getting calls from across the country and right here in our hometown, and the generosity of people who understand this disaster is truly amazing,” said Mayor Turner. “Together we can make a difference to those who will need extensive help to get back on their feet once this storm is over.”

Methods to Donate:

Online Credit Card Donations: Visit www.ghcf.org. Online credit card donations will be assessed a small fee, typically 3%, by the credit card companies. Donors have the option of increasing their credit card donations to cover this fee.

Checks/Money Orders: Mail to Greater Houston Community Foundation, 5120 Woodway Drive, Suite 6000, Houston, TX 77056.

Transfer Cash by Wire: Wire To: JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.
Houston, TX
ABA # 021000021
For credit to: Greater Houston Community Foundation
A/C#: 849170287
For further credit to: Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund

For stocks, corporate bonds and other marketable securities, please contact:  donorservices@ghcf.org

Thank you for your consideration. Your support means a great deal to our fellow Houstonians.

African American Mayors Association Announces Five-Point Plan to Stand Against Hate

For Immediate Release: August 18, 2017
Contact: Mia Jacobs, mjacobs@rabengroup.com, 201-919-0333

African American Mayors Association Announces Five-Point Plan
to Stand Against Hate

Remove Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller from the White House and bring down Confederate Symbols

(Washington, DC) In response to the events in Charlottesville, Mayor Toni Harp, President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), announced the organization’s five-point response plan. The full text of the plan is below.

“As more information about the events in Charlottesville becomes available, it is clear that the response from President Trump has been inadequate and disappointing,” said Mayor Harp. “If we cannot count on this Administration to unequivocally disavow such vile hate groups, state and local governments must lead the way.

“I urge all mayors and governors to adopt AAMA’s five point response plan which calls for: the immediate removal of confederate and nazi symbols; the removal from federal office Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller whose ideological extremism emboldens white supremacists; the provision of additional resources for law enforcement to identify hate groups; all corporations to stop the dissemination of tools of hate on their platforms; and for all public officials to disavow hate and racial violence as a prerequisite for running for office.”

Charlottesville Five-Point Response Plan For Cities

1. Confederate and Nazi Symbols: We urge all cities and state legislatures to remove symbols of the Confederacy, Nazism, and other white supremacist groups from public spaces, which serve the joint purpose of intimidating citizens and emboldening such hate groups. We commend the cities of New Orleans, Baltimore, Lexington and others that have taken swift action;

2. Federal Action: We call on President Trump to (i) remove Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller for their ideological extremism that emboldens white supremacist and other hate groups; (ii) fully restore Countering Violent Extremism funds to combat white supremacists and neo-Nazis; and (iii) launch a coordinated federal effort in conjunction with local law enforcement officials to eliminate the growing threat from white supremacists;

3. Resources for Law Enforcement: We call on the federal government and local elected officials to direct additional law enforcement resources to (i) the identification and elimination of white supremacist, neo-Nazis and and other hate groups and related incidences of violence; and (ii) additional training of police officers for crowd and protest management;

4. Corporate Accountability: We call for a boycott of companies and vendors that advertise on radical websites and we urge all elected officials to work with influential companies to address ways to limit the influence of hate groups on their platforms. We commend companies such as Airbnb that have taken affirmative actions against white supremacist causes on their platforms; and

5. Get out the vote in 2018: We encourage all eligible persons to get registered to vote and demand any person running for elected office promote the causes of equality and justice and disavow hate and racial violence as a prerequisite for running for office.

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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.”

 

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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.”

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African American Mayors Association Statement on the Trump Budget’s Proposed Infrastructure Cuts

For Immediate Release: June 1, 2017

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

           Mia Jacobs, mjacobs@rabengroup.com, 202-930-6818

 

African American Mayors Association Statement on the Trump Budget’s Proposed Infrastructure Cuts

(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 the Trump budget proposal’s devastating cuts to infrastructure-related programs.

“My colleagues and I are woefully disappointed by President Trump’s failure to honor his promise to invest one trillion dollars in our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. Instead, the President’s recently released FY 2018 budget proposal denies America’s urban centers the additional support needed to recover from previous federal neglect of their infrastructure needs.

 

The Trump budget proposal is an attack on America’s urban foundation. Like President Trump who lives in Manhattan, two-thirds of the U.S. population now lives in cities, and the vitality of our cities is inextricably linked to the vitality of our nation as a whole.   It cuts billions of dollars every year from community development and housing programs that make cities more affordable and livable.  It cuts over a billion dollars every year from transportation projects that ease congestion in cities and their surrounding suburbs. It cuts 760 million dollars every year from Amtrak – a crucial link between cities.   Over a decade, it cuts almost $100 billion dollars from the Highway Trust Fund, a program that increases mobility and employment in our cities and the nation as a whole.  The budget proposal also cuts hundreds of millions of dollars every year from Superfund Cleanup and Brownfield projects that reduce health hazards in our cities and help redevelop former industrial sites.

“The Trump budget proposes significant tax credits and incentives for private companies  but will not result in faster highway repairs and better public transportation in our cities. It will not lead to the cleanup and redevelopment of industrial sites.  It will not protect against another Flint.  Our cities demand and deserve better.”

 

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African American Mayors Association Statement on the American Health Care Act

For Immediate Release: May 4, 2017

Contact: Donald Gatlin, dgatlin@rabengroup.com, 202-587-2871
Mia Jacobs, mjacobs@rabengroup.com, 202-930-6818

AFRICAN AMERICAN MAYORS ASSOCIATION STATEMENT ON THE AMERICAN HEALTH CARE ACT

WASHINGTON, DC— On behalf of the 500 African American mayors across the country, Mayor Toni Harp, of New Haven, CT, and President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), released the following statement in response to today’s House of Representatives vote on the American Health Care Act:

“My colleagues and I condemn the House’s action today on health care. The House bill jeopardizes health insurance coverage for millions of people with pre-existing conditions and limits the health benefits available to people covered by the Affordable Care Act. At the same time, this bill decimates the Medicaid program. It cuts federal Medicaid payments to the states by $880 billion over 10 years and will cause some 10 million people to lose Medicaid coverage.

We do not want to go back to a time when Medicaid funding was too limited to fulfill the program’s intended purposes. We do not want to see families of children born with preexisting conditions face skyrocketing premiums and exceed lifetime caps, because Congress put politics before families. As a result, our cities will be forced to curtail services to children, the disabled and the elderly, and there will be a dramatic decline in the ability of our hospitals and clinics—both public and private—to treat and prevent a host of serious conditions—diabetes, opioid abuse, and mental illness among them. Healthcare provides for a healthier workforce, which drives the local economies that are the bedrock of our national prosperity. As of today, the health of that workforce is threatened.”

Congress should put families first. We urge the Senate to reject this misguided legislation.”

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The Role and Obligations of African-American Mayors In the 21st Century


Mayor Sylvester Turner
Houston, TX

To be an African-American mayor leading a city in the 21st century is not about “power” but about “possibilities.” With more than 470 African-American mayors leading cities across the United States, the lens of our leadership is shaped from our own personal experiences. Together, we collectively bring a perspective that allows for a spectrum of possibilities.

As city leaders, it is our obligation to ensure the fiscal responsibility of taxpayers’ contributions towards city operations, as well as address the pension liabilities of a city’s police, fire and civilian workforce. These very important, and very complicated issues, are just a few of the priorities mayors must tackle. There is urgency in every moment, and expediency required in every decision. But, we must be cautious not to become so caught up in the process of managing cities that we lose sight of the importance of being mayors of color, and the significance our governance has on our communities.

Since I became the mayor of the City of Houston in January 2016, one of my spectra of possibilities is building complete communities. To that end, I’ve created a Complete Communities Program, which is designed to proactively support underserved communities, their residents, and the businesses in their areas. These communities have been plagued by years of generational poverty and the issues that come with this very destructive intergenerational cycle, such as low literacy rates and high percentages of individuals involved in our justice system. Compounding these issues are the pressures of things such as gentrification and substantial adverse changes due to major public infrastructure improvements.

However, the title of “Mayor” is not who I am. Who I am is a prime example of a “better tomorrow.” Growing up in one of the targeted areas in the Complete Communities Program, I faced many challenges, but my mother always told my siblings and I that “tomorrow will be better than today.” With that instilled in me, I had a drive and determination to not only dream big, but to take advantage of the opportunities presented to me in order to make those dreams come true. Who I am allows me to know that the Complete Communities Program is not just a choice, it’s a matter of conviction, which will ultimately lead to making an impact felt well beyond my tenure.

As the steward and overseer of the City of Houston, I am leveraging our resources, community partners, business leadership and other public partners to focus on neighborhood-level actions that will collectively foster economic opportunities and neighborhood vitality throughout various communities in Houston. We are investing in communities that have historically not been prioritized for economic development, which consequently resulted in a disparity of resources.

Some of the program’s explicit goals are to organize around the geographic dimensions of problems and create thriving commercial areas, successful neighborhood businesses, and equitable access to quality jobs throughout our city. Another foundational component that cannot be ignored is the importance of investing in education. My obligation to transform the circumstances in our communities requires that education—at all levels—be a critical component and have a high impact.

This strategy will build on best practices and community-driven approaches that can successfully position our neighborhoods, local businesses, and residents to connect to and compete in the City’s booming economy. This collaborative approach to neighborhood economic development intends to build partnerships for implementation and ensures that the implementation process reflects community priorities and strengthens communities from within. Communities are places with vibrant retail, quality affordable housing, neighborhood parks and access to good schools—the end result of our efforts.

For many of our stakeholders, we are viewed as new hope and new opportunities for all, regardless of who they are and where they come from. Our visions for our cities’ futures have to be seeped into the importance of bridging gaps and creating opportunities for citizens, to not only survive, but to thrive. We do this, not only out of obligation to our cities, but for the promise of possibilities coming to fruition for a constituency that has long been ignored.

To be an African-American mayor at the helm of a city is indeed a marvelous feat—one that undoubtedly is the result of beating incredible odds, which is all the more reason why we must lead with a conviction and commitment for transformation. Leading in this current time, against the backdrop of strained community-police relations, voting rights challenges, waning interest in social justice and equitable access to resources, requires that we are nimble and strategic in our approach to leading our cities. Together, with our unique personal experiences and backgrounds, we are best poised to realize the gains that are necessary for successful cities.

***As featured in the National Urban Leagues’ State of Black America***

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.