As National Discourse Becomes More Divisive, Mayors Take the Lead in Promoting Tolerance, Equality and Unity

Boston, MA – During its Annual Meeting in Boston, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) announced the establishment of the Mayors and Business Leaders Center for Inclusive and Compassionate Cities.  The Center will focus on creating a strong and committed partnership between mayors and business leaders, identifying and leveraging strategies in both the private and public sectors to advance equality, diversity and inclusion.

For decades, the Conference has taken a strong position in support of civil rights and in opposition to racism and discrimination of all kinds.  Following the violent protests in Charlottesville in August 2017, working with the Anti-Defamation League, the Conference launched The Mayors’ Compact to Combat Hate, Extremism and Bigotry – to promote the fundamental principles of justice and equality that define America.  More than 325 of the nation’s mayors have signed the Compact to date, committing to act to fight inequities and create inclusive and compassionate cities. The Center was developed in recognition of the strong mayoral response to the Mayors’ Compact.

With an initial grant from Walmart, the Center will support mayors’ efforts to fight inequities and create inclusive and compassionate cities. The Center will support mayors through collaboration, education and awareness, information sharing, technical assistance, and best practices.

“Mayors are committed to setting a tone in our country that appeals to our better angels—one that bridges the divides in our communities and upholds our core values of decency, compassion and respect. Being inclusive is not merely the right way of doing things, but it is good for the economy, for business, for cities and for the nation. We invite the business community to join in building this Center as we collectively work to implement real change in our cities and our country,” said USCM President and Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin.

“Experience has shown when business and local government work together, our cities and our citizens benefit and meaningful change can take place. Walmart is proud to be a founding funder and member of this important Center at a critical time in our nation. We are committed to working with Mayors and cities to identify strategies to advance equality, diversity and inclusion in both the workplace and the community,” said Amy Hill, Walmart Senior Director of Public Affairs and State and Local Government Relations.

“As the dialogue in Washington becomes more caustic and combative, the country finds itself in a precarious position and in need of real leadership. Mayors, who never shy away from a challenge, are once again stepping up to say enough is enough.  Together, with the help of our business community, Mayors will now lead the way in elevating our national discourse and ensuring that all of our citizens are treated fairly and with respect,” said USCM CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran.


From June 8 through June 11, more than 250 of the nation’s mayors met in Boston for USCM’s 86th Annual Meeting.  Under the leadership of USCM President Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and host Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, mayors discussed a wide variety of priorities that contribute to the overall health of America’s cities and considered and adopted the policy resolutions that guide the advocacy agenda of the organization.

 During the Conference, mayors passed 90 resolutions. The full package of adopted resolutions can be found at

USCM also voted in newly elected leadership: Vice President Rochester Hills, MI Mayor Bryan Barnett, Second Vice President Louisville, KY Mayor Greg Fischer.

New USCM Trustees are as follows:  Boston (MA) Mayor Martin J. Walsh, and Providence (RI) Mayor Jorge Elorza. Trustees of the USCM, along with the top three officers and past presidents make up the Executive Committee of the organization.

New USCM Advisory Board Members are as follows: San Leandro (CA) Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter, Reno (NV) Mayor Hillary Schieve, Baton Rouge (LA) Mayor Sharon Broome, Augusta (GA) Mayor Hardie Davis, Turlock (CA) Mayor Gary Soiseth, Tempe (AZ) Mayor Mark Mitchell, Miami (FL) Mayor Francis X. Suarez. The Advisory Board functions in an advisory capacity to the Executive Committee on all matters of policy and program.