WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--More than 50 African American mayors from small and large cities across the country gathered in Washington, D.C. for the African American Mayors Association’s (AAMA) second annual conference, May 28 and 29. The conference theme, “A Mayors View of Washington,” was evident throughout the event. AAMA members addressed critically important issues during the conference including community policing, public-private partnership best practices, technology, and education. AAMA members also elected the 2015-16 board of trustees.
The mayors received a briefing on the “My Brother’s Keeper Initiative” at the White House, and several local and federal officials attended the conference, including D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who welcomed AAMA members at a luncheon on May 28. Secretary Julian Castro, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, delivered an inspirational speech during a dinner hosted by the Casey Family Foundation.
“Our nation’s cities and towns face ever-evolving challenges that require steady leadership. Our aim is to provide mayors with the resources and federal and business partnerships that will, ultimately, benefit their constituents” said Mayor William Bell – outgoing president, AAMA. “I’m proud of the path we’re on and of the work of our member mayors.”
The mayors addressed effective community policing in a panel discussion among Mayors Patrick Green (Normandy, Missouri), Karen Freeman-Wilson (Gary, Indiana), and Michael Coleman (Columbus, Ohio). During the panel, they discussed initiatives their cities have successfully implemented in an effort to establish trust between their citizens and law enforcement. Vanita Gupta, acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, discussed the agency’s findings and recommendations resulting from incidents in Cleveland and Ferguson.
AAMA leaders issued a resolution creating a seven member Justice Reform Task Force. The task forcewill be responsible for making recommendations on law enforcement best practices and initiatives to promote effective crime reduction while demonstrating the transparency, integrity, and accountability necessary to restore public trust and ensure justice for all.
“As mayors, we understand that a foundation of mutual respect and cooperation between law enforcement and the citizens they serve is essential to the security and stability of our communities,” said Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina and newly elected AAMA president. “This task force will provide actionable recommendations to our member mayors.”
AAMA 2015 Board of Trustees
Steve Benjamin (Columbia, SC) - President
Sly James (Kansas City, MO) – 1st Vice President
Toni Harp (New Haven, CT) – 2nd Vice President
Patrick Green (Normandy, MO) - Treasurer
William Johnson (Holly Hill, SC) - Secretary
Mario Avery (Fairburn, GA)
William V. “Bill” Bell (Durham, NC)
Vivian Covington (University Park, IL)
Ed Brown (St. Joseph, LA)
Michael Coleman (Columbus, OH)
Hardie Davis (Augusta, GA)
Johnny Ford (Tuskegee, AL)
Oliver Gilbert (Miami Garden, FL)
Jacqueline Goodall (Forest Heights, MD)
Kevin Johnson (Sacramento, CA)
William A. Bell, Sr. (Birmingham, AL) – Immediate Past President
Tony Yarber (Jackson, MS)
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 managementtools; and creating a forum for member mayors to share best practices related to municipal management.