Florida Mayors Discuss African American Community Issues

Feb 5, 2016

(L-R) Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert, Palatka Mayor Terrill Hill and Pahokee Mayor Colin Walkes discuss community issues at the African American Mayors' Roundtable.
Credit Yolanda Jackson

Florida A&M University held the first African American Mayors’ Roundtable Friday. 

Mayor Terrill Hill from Palatka and Mayor Colin Walkes from Pahokee joined others to talk about problems in their communities. Florida Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Ed Narain says the event helps bring together urban and rural concerns.

“Here was an opportunity to feature them, you know, Mayor Hill, Mayor Walkes, even though, you know, Palatka and Pahokee you think, ‘well those are smaller cities,’ but those are rural, they’re reflective of parts of Florida, so it was good to hear from them."

Narain says the environment, criminal justice and crisis planning are prevalent issues.

The Florida Conference of Black State Legislators also gathered at FAMU Friday to discuss ways to support African American students. School official Kirk Gavin says it’s important to keep students engaged.

“Unfortunately, African Americans, males in particular, have, I don’t wanna say a resistance to education, but some of our strategies are not working.”

Gavin says he wants to see more role models and an individualized approach.