Lori Lightfoot - Chicago's First Black Woman and Openly Gay Mayor

Last Tuesday, Lori Lightfoot became both the first African-American woman and openly gay person elected mayor of Chicago. Lightfoot’s goal was to dismantle Chicago’s current political regimen. Lori will be sworn in on May 20th, as Chicago’s 56th Mayor. Lori is set to become the 2nd women to serve as mayor, following behind Jane Byrne, who serve from 1979-1983.


Lori started campaign began last May was a long shot. As a former federal prosecutor, Lightfoot ended the reign of Cook County’s lead democratic official. After her resounding victory, she stated. “Today, you did more than make history, you created a movement for change.”


With an estimated 97% of Chicago’s precincts reporting, Ms. Lightfoot had won all 50 of Chicago’s wards, winning 74% of the unofficial vote compared to 26% of her opponent.

Her win marks the completion of a seemingly impossible journey for Lightfoot, from having poor parents that worked low income jobs in Ohio, to graduating from the University of Michigan, then on to the University of Chicago Law School. Her success didn’t end there, she became federal prosecutor, a major law firm partner, and now mayor-elect of the 3rd largest city in America.


Lightfoot said, “My parents didn’t have much money, but they had their dignity and their dreams, dreams for their children, dreams for me. They taught me the value of honesty, decency, hard work and education, and they gave me faith, the faith that put me where I am today.”


Lightfoot is set to be the 3rd Black person to serve as mayor. Harold Washington was the first elected, in 1983 as the city’s first black mayor. He was re-elected in 1987. The 2nd Black mayor, Eugene Sawyer was appointed mayor in 1989, during a special election. And now, we have Lori!


During her acceptance speech, Mayor-Elect Lightfoot said, “A lot of little girls and boys are out there watching us tonight, and they’re seeing the beginning of something, well, a little bit different,” Lightfoot said with a smile. “They’re seeing a city reborn, a city where it doesn’t matter what color you are, where it surely doesn’t matter how tall you are and where it doesn’t matter who you love, just as long as you love with all your heart.”


Image Source: WBEZ.org

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