Georgia Mayors Speak to AAMI Members

Gordon State College AAMI members with, on far left and far right, John Howard, mayor of Forsyth; Ken Smith, mayor of Kingsland; Christopher Wright, mayor of Dawson and Willie Burns, mayor of Washington.


Washington, Ga. Mayor Willie E. Burns told members of the Gordon State College African American Male Initiative recently that he, as a young man, didn't have the opportunities they have now.

"When I was in college opportunities like this didn't exist," Burns said. "Interacting with elected officials was out of the question. In this day and age, with the technology we have, it is possible for people to have direct contact with their representatives."

Burns, along with three other mayors of Georgia cities, all members of the Georgia Conference of Black Mayors, recently visited campus and spoke to members of the AAMI in two different sessions.

The mayors spoke of their journeys and what led them to their positions as elected officials.

"I learned that, in order to be an effective leader, one must bring people together," said AAMI member Tyrone Willis, a computer science major and Barnesville resident. "Being a leader is not always about your personal journey, but it is more about being open to, and involved in, the community. There is always work to be done."

Kingsland Mayor Ken Smith said it was inspirational to encourage the AAMI members to continue studying and advancing themselves.

"We were moved by the mayors of these cities who took time from their busy day to visit with us," said Fredrick Bailey, program manager for AAMI.

Other mayors who visited the campus included John Howard of Forsyth and Christopher Wright of Dawson.