Protect and Advance Human and Civil Rights

Our nation’s strength and vitality lie in the fact that cities are home to diverse residents from all over the country and all over the globe: it’s why our regional economies are the engines that power the largest economy in the world. Throughout our country’s history, that diversity and dynamism have at times also been attacked, and as mayors we take seriously the need for government (federal, state, and local) to protect our residents and promote inclusion. To this end, The United States Conference of Mayors for decades has taken a strong position in support of civil and human rights, and in opposition to racism and discrimination of all kinds whenever and wherever it occurs.

Tragically, extremism and violent bigotry continue to rear their ugly heads in America and, in recent years, at an alarming rate and scale. We are now witnessing efforts in our states and at the highest levels of our government to gut existing civil rights laws and reduce their enforcement. We have seen an increase in hate violence, xenophobic rhetoric, and discriminatory actions that target Muslims, Jews, African Americans, Latinos, and others. Intolerance, lack of respect for those with differing opinions, and incivility have risen to crisis levels. Damaging rhetoric and a dramatic shift away from collaboration have often left us unable to solve the challenges confronting our communities and our country.

To protect constitutional civil rights and encourage inclusionary practices that support our efforts to grow our cities and local economies in ways that benefit everyone, mayors call on the President and Congress to:

  • Promote inclusive and compassionate communities and an inclusive and compassionate nation that recognizes, respects and values all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  • Oppose any policies, actions or comments that in any way discriminate against people because of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  • Acknowledge the profound impact of structural and systemic racism on communities of color, and look toward policies that remedy long-standing inequities, including promoting Black male achievement.
  • Work to foster tolerance and prevent hate crimes, with a particular focus on the increasing trend of violence toward individuals and institutions based on faith, and condemn such incidents whenever they do occur.
  • Support and work to achieve passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and the implementation of policies that ensure genuine economic equality for women.
  • Support LGBTQ rights and work toward guaranteeing them in every city and in the nation as a whole.
  • Oppose violence and discrimination against transgender individuals.
  • Revive civility and respect by listening respectfully to people who have different views, supporting efforts to work together across ideological and political lines, and working to rebuild civic trust through civil discourse – particularly during election seasons.
  • Consistently and unreservedly enforce the federal Fair Housing Act, which helps local governments address discrimination and segregated housing patterns.


Focused on: Infrastructure, Innovation, & Inclusion