Nationwide Police Reform, Addressing Systemic Racism, Direct Aid for COVID Recovery Top Priorities in Vision for an American Breakthrough 

Washington, D.C.— In his first speech as President of the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM), Louisville (KY) Mayor Greg Fischer addressed fellow mayors today detailing his plans to advance racial justice and equity. Two critical areas of focus this year will be national police reform and the nationwide recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. With a focus on police reform, as well as an examination of the underlying health and economic conditions that have exacerbated the negative impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, Mayor Fischer called on mayors to marshal their resources and collective wisdom to renew their fight against systemic racism in America. Mayor Fischer’s speech can be viewed here.

“The demonstrations in cities across the country are fundamentally about compassion. These protests are demands that our society offer justice and equity to people who’ve experienced centuries of cruelty and injustice, who’ve never known institutions dedicated to helping their human potential flourish,” said USCM President and Louisville (KY) Mayor Greg Fischer. “Our job as mayors is to create the conditions so they can finally flourish and power an American Breakthrough that can address all in America that has broken down.”

Last month, USCM launched the Police Reform and Racial Justice working group, chaired by Chicago (IL) Mayor Lori Lightfoot, which is focused on producing, advancing, and enacting meaningful reforms to address police violence and patterns of racial discrimination across the country. Advised by other experts in the field, the working group recently released a set of principles that will guide policy recommendations in the weeks to come to prevent police violence and patterns of racial discrimination in police departments across the country.

American cities have been on the front lines of the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The resources devoted to this fight coupled with the plummeting revenues as a result of the crisis have left cities with gaping budget shortfalls. Mayor Fischer announced that a top priority will be federal assistance to cities to ensure cities have a robust economic recovery and avoid more job losses and service disruptions. He has tapped Dayton (OH) Mayor Nan Whaley and Arlington (TX) Mayor Jeff Williams to lead this push.

To address the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on communities of color, Mayor Fischer also launched a working group dedicated to advancing health equity. The U.S. Conference of Mayors COVID-19 Response and Health Equity working group, co-chaired by New Orleans (LA) Mayor LaToya Cantrell and El Paso (TX) Mayor Dee Margo, have been tasked with examining federal, state, and local public health policies to mitigate spread, allow a safe reopening, and improve health outcomes.

Additionally, Mayor Fischer launched working groups on eliminating poverty (chaired by Stockton (CA) Mayor Michael Tubbs and Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser), dismantling systemic racism (chaired by West Sacramento (CA) Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, Augusta (GA) Mayor Hardie Davis, Jr. and Atlanta (GA) Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms), and economic recovery (chaired by  Houston (TX) Mayor Sylvester Turner, Los Angeles (CA) Mayor Eric Garcetti and Phoenix (AZ) Mayor Kate Gallego).

“These working groups will develop policy recommendations in the coming month that will help to inform a bold new Mayors Vision for a New America for release in early August,” said Mayor Fischer. “The Mayors Vison for a New America will guide our dynamic, nation-moving agenda to address challenges, including longstanding priorities like infrastructure, the climate emergency, voter participation along with the urgent need for racial justice and equitable economic growth. Because we know all these causes are interconnected.”