Harrisonburg, Va. — In celebration of Black History Month, the next episode of the Madison Vision series will feature a virtual panel of current and former black mayors who will take on the challenges of leadership in the 21st century.
On Wednesday, February 16, Harrisonburg Mayor Deanna Reed will host a discussion with Karen Freeman-Wilson, Sharon Weston Broome and Tishaura Jones. Topics will include crisis communication, the COVID-19 pandemic, and strength during a time of social upheaval.
Freeman-Wilson served as mayor of her hometown of Gary, Indiana, from 2012 to 2019, becoming the state’s first African-American female mayor. She is currently President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League, which works to advance the economic, educational, and social progress of African Americans through direct service and advocacy. Freeman-Wilson has held many leadership positions, including Indiana Attorney General.
Weston Broome is the first female mayor-president of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and East Baton Rouge Parish. She previously served as a Baton Rouge Metro City Council member, Louisiana State Representative, and Louisiana State Senator. A dedicated public servant, she has received numerous awards for her work in the community.
Jones was sworn in as the first black female mayor of St. Louis, Missouri, in 2021. She served two terms in the Missouri House of Representatives and was the first African-American woman to serve as treasurer of St. Louis. In addition to public service, Jones serves his community through volunteer work.
Reed has served as mayor of Harrisonburg since January 2017. She is the first African-American female mayor in the city’s history. Reed also holds many leadership positions in the community, including Director of Community and School Partnerships for On the Road Collaborative, a youth empowerment organization that serves more than 300 middle and high school students each year.
The virtual event will begin at 6 p.m. and will be streamed live on JMU’s Facebook and YouTube channels. At the end of the roundtable, the public will have the opportunity to submit questions to the panelists.
The Madison Vision series honors James Madison’s belief that cultivating informed and educated citizenship is essential to the health of our Republican democracy. By hosting these timely speakers, students, faculty and staff, and community members have easy access to a variety of topics and influencers. Guest speakers provide students with the opportunity to learn and experience what life can be like in their field and provide dialogue for both sides of an issue.
For a complete listing of these nationally recognized programs, visit www.jmu.edu/president/mvs.
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Contact: Ginny Cramer, [email protected], 540-568-5325
More information about James Madison University, including rankings and recognitions, can be found at jmu.edu/about.