Mayors Association Welcomes Its New President, Shawyn Patterson-Howard
If you visit the website for the African American Mayors Association, you might see a familiar face on the landing page for the President’s Welcome (ourmayors.org/About/Presidents-Welcome). Shawyn Patterson-Howard, the first female mayor in the 200+ year history of the City of Mount Vernon, and the first woman of color elected mayor in Westchester County, was sworn in on April 26, 2023, as President of the African American Mayors Association, Inc. (AAMA).
The AAMA is the only organization exclusively representing African-American mayors in the United States. It exists to empower local leaders for the benefit of their citizens. Launched on May 1, 2014 in Washington D.C., the role of the AAMA includes taking positions on public policies that impact the vitality and sustainability of cities; providing mayors with leadership and management tools; and creating a forum for member mayors to share best practices related to municipal management. The organization has over 125 members, including seven from New York, three of whom are women; namely, Mayor Patterson-Howard, Vivian McKenzie-Mayor of Peekskill, NY, and Nkayka Brown-Mayor of South Floral Park, NY.
During the AAMA’s 9th Annual Conference, held in Washington, D.C., April 19–21, 2023, President Joseph R. Biden invited a representative group of mayors and stakeholders to the Oval Office to thank them for their strong partnership. He also highlighted his commitment to working with mayors on a range of issues impacting all Americans, including the continued implementation of the President’s American Rescue Plan, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act. Vice President Kamala Harris hosted over 80 of the African American mayors during a reception at her residence. The mayors also met with Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Senior Advisor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, and Steve Benjamin, Senior Advisor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, to discuss key initiatives around public safety, housing, environmental justice, and the positive impact of the President’s Investing in America agenda in their communities.
Last year, Patterson-Howard served as 1st Vice President of the AAMA. This year, the first New York mayor to lead the AAMA, and its President for the next 12 months, will “focus on developing strategic partnerships with nationally allied organizations and leaders”, and “amplify, advocate, and agitate for equitable policies and resources that our communities deserve.”
This year, Shawyn Patterson-Howard also intends to make herstory by becoming the first mayor in Mount Vernon to win re-election in two decades.