Statement by African American Mayors Association on Anti-Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Legislation in State of Alabama

Published on February 23, 2024

(Washington, D.C.) – The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) stands behind AAMA Board Member and Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, who indicated this week he would encourage athletes to leave the state if a new bill introduced by Republicans in the Alabama Senate on Tuesday prohibiting the teaching of “divisive concepts” and the sponsorship of “any diversity, equity and inclusion program” in Alabama public schools and universities passes.

The bill, SB 129, sponsored by Sen. Will Barfoot (R-Pike Road) “would prohibit certain public entities, including state agencies, local boards of education, and public institutions of higher education from maintaining a diversity, equity and inclusion office or department or sponsoring any diversity, equity and inclusion program or program that advocates for a divisive concept.” It would also prohibit schools from promoting divisive concepts, including “that fault, blame or bias should be assigned to members of a race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity, or national origin, on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity, or national origin, and “that slavery and racism are aligned with the founding principles of the U.S.”

“Our schools and universities should make it a priority to have offices and departments representative of the diversity of our population and be fair, equitable and inclusive in their hiring and recruitment. This is yet another attempt to deny opportunities to people of color,” said AAMA President and Mount Vernon, NY Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard. “We need to let our teachers teach and allow our children the opportunity to learn true American history so they can become analytical thinkers and the thought leaders of tomorrow. When we strip our schools of diversity and opportunities to propel our young people forward, it makes sense for parents, students and athletes to seek better opportunities elsewhere.”

The legislation will move to the Senate floor for potential passage in the House.