AAMA Shines a Light on Gun Violence Awareness

Published on June 30, 2023

(Washington, D.C.) – The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) led the charge and brought together mayors from 37 states across the country to participate in Gun Violence Awareness Month (GVAM). AAMA member-mayors as well as our allies raised awareness on the devastating and brutal impact that gun-related violence has on our communities.

Over 20 citywide proclamations were issued declaring the month of June as Gun Violence Awareness Month, and 29 cities lit their municipal landmarks in orange to commemorate the lives lost to these tragedies.

“Too many lives taken, too many families shattered, too many communities irreparably changed by the barrel of a gun,” said AAMA President and Mount Vernon, NY Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard. “It is a solemn honor to bring together mayors from around the nation to commemorate Gun Violence Awareness Month as so many mourn loved ones lost to gun violence. We are doing our part to bring attention to an issue plaguing our cities and demand action by Congress to bring about real, common sense gun reforms.”

“Montgomery is proud to be included in this initiative and thankful to AAMA for spearheading this month-long effort, bringing further awareness to this deadly issue,” said AAMA 1st Vice President and Montgomery, AL Mayor Steven L. Reed. “I know that when communities work with each other, there is nothing we cannot accomplish, and a dire cause such as this needs to be addressed by those in D.C. as well as by those leading our cities and states. By commemorating the lives lost and impacted by these indiscriminate acts of gun violence, my colleagues and I hope that others will recognize how important this epidemic is.”

“My city is still recovering and our hearts are still healing from the loss of 10 beautiful souls at the hands of a racist, mass shooter last year,” said AAMA 2nd Vice President and Buffalo, NY Mayor Byron Brown. “That is why it’s more important than ever to shine a light on the tragic costs of gun violence in our country. I am proud to represent Buffalo and bring awareness to this vicious cycle. We cannot continue to allow our communities, particularly our youth, to live in an atmosphere of constant gun violence, or to live in fear that a bullet could hurt or kill them or their loved ones. Recognizing June as Gun Violence Awareness Month allows us to recommit ourselves to addressing this deadly epidemic.”

“Gun violence knows no boundaries and affects us all. It disrupts the harmony we strive for, the prosperity we seek, and the unity we envision,” said AAMA Secretary and Baton Rouge, LA Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome. “It is imperative that we unite to confront this pervasive issue head-on. By addressing its root causes, fostering open dialogue, and implementing meaningful solutions, we can create safer communities. Throughout Gun Violence Awareness Month, we will amplify the voices of survivors, advocate for sensible gun laws, and provide support to those affected.”

“Gun Violence Awareness Month is in June, but in my communities and for so many of the young Black and Brown kids in this country, it’s year-round,” said AAMA Board Trustee and St. Louis, MO Mayor Tishaura Jones. “We need solutions. Poverty, housing insecurity, food insecurity, cuts in education, and a lack of mental health services are all directly related to gun violence. These issues are interconnected and unless we approach solutions from a holistic approach that involve leaders and representatives from all levels –  from local to the federal level – we will continue to place band aids on this bullet hole.”

“We must be doing everything in our power to drastically reduce gun violence in our nation’s cities. It takes a comprehensive, holistic approach that goes beyond reliance on law enforcement efforts,” said AAMA Immediate Past President and Little Rock, AR Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. “During this observance of Gun Violence Awareness Month, I hope communities across the country have recommitted to allocating resources for community-based violence intervention programs and improving educational and workforce opportunities for our youth. We need real and innovative solutions to this nationwide epidemic.”

“Here in St. Petersburg, Florida, our number one priority for our children and our communities is safety,” said St. Petersburg, FL Mayor Kenneth T. Welch. “If you’re a gun owner, please be responsible and stay responsible. I keep my firearm safely secured at all times, and I do support common sense gun laws. As a community, it’s critical that we look out for each other and work together. Additionally, St. Petersburg offers multiple resources to help keep our kids active, engaged, and in positive programs. We also collaborate and have strong partnerships with several agencies assisting with mental health resources for our families and individuals. All of us have to join together to keep our community strong.”

“Illegal guns continue to plague our community and have a lasting impact on the families of those lost to gun violence and our entire city,” said Albany, NY Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “The Albany Police Department has taken a record number of illegal guns off the street the last two years and is a national leader in working with our local, state, and federal partners to find those who commit gun violence, arrest them, and bring them to justice. Even though New York State has some of the strictest gun laws in the county, we have a pipeline of guns coming into our community from out-of-state and it’s beyond time for the federal government to pass common-sense legislation to end the stream of illegal guns once and for all.”

As of the end of June, there have been over 21,000 gun-related deaths (including nearly 900 children) throughout our nation – already outpacing last years’ numbers. Mayors from around the country rallied together to raise awareness of gun violence and the heart-wrenching consequences for our communities:

Mount Vernon, NY Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard

Little Rock, AR Mayor Frank Scott Jr.

Montgomery, AL Mayor Steven Reed

Tempe, AZ Mayor Corey Woods

Denver, CO Mayor Michael Hancock

Orange County, FL Mayor Jerry Demings

Atlanta, GA Mayor Andre Dickens

St. Louis, MO Mayor Tishaura Jones

St. Petersburg, FL Mayor Kenneth T. Welch

Helena, MT Mayor Wilmot Collins

Rochester, NY Mayor Malik Evans

Charlotte, NC Mayor Vi Lyles

Elyria, OH Mayor Frank Whitfield

West Memphis, TN Mayor Marco McClendon

De Soto, TX Mayor Rachel Proctor

Newport News, VA Mayor Phillip Jones

Tacoma, WA Mayor Victoria Woodard

Durham, NC Mayor Elaine O’Neal

Seattle, WA, Mayor Bruce Harrell

Los Angeles, CA Mayor Karen Bass

Chicago, IL Mayor Brandon Johnson

Baton Rouge, LA Mayor Sharon Weston Broome

Bridgeport, CT Mayor Joe Ganim

Smyrna, DE Mayor Robert Johnson

Highland Park, IL Mayor Nancy Rotering

Indianapolis, IN Mayor Joe Hogsett

Iowa City, IA Mayor Bruce Teague

Wichita, KS Mayor Brandon Whipple

Louisville, KY Mayor Craig Greenberg

Portland, ME Mayor Kate Snyder

North Brentwood, MD Mayor Petrella Robinson

St. Paul, MN Mayor Melvin Carter

Omaha, NE Mayor Jean Stothert

Santa Fe, NM Mayor Alan Webber

Bend, OR Mayor Jeff Eager

Philadelphia, PA Mayor Jim Kenney

Pawtucket, RI Mayor Donald Grebien

Salt Lake City, UT Mayor Erin Mendenhall

Milwaukee, WI Mayor Cavalier Johnson

Albany, NY Mayor Kathy Sheehan

Babylon, NY Mayor Rich Schaffer

White Plains, NY Mayor Thomas Roach

Utica, NY Mayor Robert Palmieri

Yonkers, NY Mayor Mike Spano

Framingham, MA Mayor Charlie Sisitsky

Princeton, NJ Mayor Mark Freda

Raleigh, NC Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin