Black Lives Matter

By Smart City Expo Atlanta
June 2, 2020

Dear Friends,

The last few weeks have been heavy and dark. There are no words to describe the abhorrent injustices experienced in the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and the countless other black men and women whose deaths and trauma have not been captured on film or made national news.

These injustices have reinforced my own personal commitment to not only loudly proclaim that black lives matter but to continue to boldly demonstrate it through our platform.

At our 2019 conference, Michael Smith, Executive Director of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, led a discussion called Smart Cities are Communities where Boys and Young Men of Color Can Thrive.

Another panel, Innovating for Smart and Just Cities featured corrections officers in dialogue with justice advocates. We had young students from the Harvard Diversity Project share their vision for a just future. T.I. and John Hope Bryant spoke of innovation, entrepreneurship, and building inclusive 21st century economies while beacons of hope, truth, and courage – Ambassador Andrew J. Young, Dr. Bernice A. King, and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms – discussed Atlanta’s rich history of civil rights leadership and the importance of Building Compassionate Cities.

We will continue to engage in this dialogue because, as many of you know, equity, inclusion, justice, and humanity have been central to my life’s work as a lawyer, criminal justice advocate, smart cities leader, film producer, wife, and daughter-in-law.

We can assure you that our upcoming Redefining Smart series will continue to engage in important dialogue on 21st century policing, smart justice, building an inclusive workforce of the future, enforcing ethical AI, bridging the digital divide, deploying smart technologies in underserved communities, and exploring how to truly design equitable cities if so few of the world’s architects are black.

We are listening and learning from stewards of equity and justice because we know that cities cannot be “smart” if there is hunger, homelessness, injustice, and poverty. We hope you will stay engaged and vocal and work with us on building a new social contract. We encourage you to join us in this by donating to any of the organizations below:

Thank you to all the mayors across the country for your extraordinary leadership and to all of you who have reached out to share your pain, hurt, and resolve to #STANDUP.

In peace and justice,



Building and Redefining Smart Cities by Smart City Expo Atlanta
April 22, 2020
Keith Benjamin: On the Front Lines of Change by Smart City Expo Atlanta
June 10, 2020

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