America’s Black Mayors Gathered In Atlanta, Here’s How City Leaders Were Empowered

The annual African American Mayors Association (AAMA) Conference was held in Atlanta and served as a pivotal gathering for Black mayors across the United States. As the sole organization exclusively representing African American mayors, AAMA’s mission is to empower local leaders for the betterment of their communities.

Throughout the conference, AAMA addressed critical issues impacting cities and provided mayors with essential leadership and management tools. The event served as a platform for mayors to share best practices and strategies for effective municipal management, fostering collaboration and innovation.

Friday’s agenda was packed with impactful sessions, starting with the Corporate Business Council Breakfast. Kevin Keane, President and CEO of the American Beverage Association, led this session, where a total of $600,000 in aid was awarded to five cities with the announcement of the 2024 Nutrition Access, Affordability, and Education Grant Program. Among the winners were Mayor Brandon Scott of Baltimore, MD; Mayor Alix Desulme of North Miami, FL; Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. of Little Rock, AK; Mayor Levar Stoney of Richmond, VA and AAMA President Mayor Shawyn Patterson Howard of Mt. Vernon, NY. 

“When I came into office, I said I wanted to lay the groundwork to begin overcoming the decades of intentional disinvestment that many neighborhoods in my city face. And projects like these are central to that work. So thank you for allowing us to continue to make that work possible,” Mayor Brandon Scott said. 

California Senator Laphonza Butler also made encouraging remarks and spotlighted how instrumental the work of our mayor’s is in making a true difference. 

“While there are lots of acronyms and big bills and lots of incredibly important investments that are happening and being funded by those of us in Washington, it is our mayors who every day make the impossible possible for ordinary people,” Butler said. 

Later in the day, attendees gathered for the Closing Gavel Luncheon. This event featured a fireside chat between renowned pastor T.D. Jakes and Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens. The conversation touched on pressing issues facing urban communities and highlighted the forthcoming development that Bishop T.D. Jakes, Wells Fargo and the Atlanta Mayor’s administration partnered on. 

The megachurch pastor’s plan includes redeveloping 95 acres of the former Fort Mcpherson base into a more inclusive, transformative community for generations to come. 

“What sets us apart from other developers is that the communities we seem to serve are the communities I was born and raised in,” Bishop T.D. Jakes said. “We didn’t come to tell the communities what they needed, we came to listen.” 

Other distinguished speakers during the luncheon included Mayor Steven Reed of Montgomery, AL; Rev. Walter C. Mobley, Jr. of Victory Baptist Church of Atlanta, East Point; The Honorable Dr. Kimberly McClain, Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development; Mayor Levar Stoney of Richmond, VA; and Kevin Johnson, Founding AAMA President, offered insights and perspectives on key policy areas. 

The African American Mayors Association Conference provided a valuable opportunity for African American mayors to network, collaborate, and advocate for policies that promote the vitality and sustainability of their cities.

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