Racial Equity

Miami Confronts its Dark History of Policing

June 12, 2020  • Aspen Ideas Now

In our final episode of Leading on the Frontlines, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez reacts to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and how he’s managing the subsequent wave of protests in his city. How has confronting its dark past made the city and its police department more equipped to address the demonstrations? What mistakes have they made and what tactics are being used to try to maintain a sense of calm? Confronted with tough decisions this year, the Mayor shares how contracting COVID himself early on prepared him to address the pandemic. From a video journal he created while quarantined and separated from his family, to his decision to cancel major music festivals that would have been economic drivers, how did he cope as a father and Mayor? Suarez is currently enrolled in the Aspen Institute’s Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership. He is a registered Republican, though the City of Miami mayoral seat is nonpartisan.

Francis X. Suarez is the 33rd Mayor of the City of Miami. As the first Miami-born mayor, he is committed to working diligently to serve the residents of the community where he was born and raised. Prior to being elected with 86 percent support from Miami residents, Mayor Suarez served as Miami Commissioner for District 4 during eight years. Mayor Suarez had many legislative accomplishments as Commissioner, including implementing ShotSpotter technology in the City, a state-of-the-art gunshot detection system, setting up a transportation trust fund, which allocates funds for current and future transit projects, and passing the Reverse Redline legislation, authorizing lawsuits against several major banks for discriminatory mortgage lending practices. Mayor Suarez also serves as Chair of the Environment Committee, as well as on the Advisory Board of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Suzanne Malveaux is an award-winning journalist who serves as CNN’s national correspondent, covering politics, national news, international events and culture. Previously, she co-anchored CNN’s Around The World and co-anchored the network’s Emmy-winning coverage of the revolution in Egypt and the network’s Peabody Award-winning coverage of the Arab Spring. Suzanne has covered the White House for over 10 years as a White House correspondent and has interviewed all 5 living Presidents, and several First Ladies. She is a 2011 Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.