In historic firsts, Lori Lightfoot becomes Chicago's new mayor

Mon. May 20, 2019 2:18 PM by News Staff

photo credit // steven koch

Lightfoot: 'I'm looking ahead to a city of safe streets and strong schools for every child, regardless of neighborhood or ZIP code.'

Chicago, IL - Lori Lightfoot was sworn in Monday as Chicago's 56th mayor, becoming the first black woman and first openly gay mayor to hold the office.

"In this moment, I cannot help but look at all of you and think about what lies ahead and what we can be together," Lightfoot told the estimated crowd of 8,000 at the Wintrust Arena.

"I'm looking ahead to a city of safe streets and strong schools for every child regardless of neighborhood or zip code. A city where people want to grow old and not flee. A city of sanctuary against fear where no one must hide in the shadows. A city that is affordable for families and seniors and where every job pays a living wage. A city of fairness and hope and prosperity for the many, not just for the few, a city that holds equity and inclusion as our guiding principles."

Lightfoot, 56, was joined on stage by her wife, Amy, and 11-year-old daughter.

"Chicago is not where my story began, but from the moment I arrived in Hyde Park to attend law school and begin my career, this city felt like where I belonged," said Lightfoot. "It's where I met the love of my life, my wife, Amy. It's where our daughter, Vivian, was born and where she's growing up into the kind, curious, and spirited young woman I always knew she would be."

Lightfoot also thanked her 90-year-old mother, Ann, who traveled from Ohio to sit on the front row during her nearly 40-minute speech.

Lightfoot also acknowledged the history-making moment of her inauguration.

"Black and brown kids, low-income kids, every kid in this city should grow up knowing they can pursue anything, they can love anyone—that's my Chicago dream," she said to applause.

"I know we're just a little bit closer to that dream as I stand here today, inaugurated as Chicago's first black woman and first openly gay mayor."

The event included performances by Miguel Cervantes of Chicago's "Hamilton" and the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus, among others.

A political outsider, Lightfoot won in all 50 wards and garnered 74 percent of the vote over challenger and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in April. She succeeds Rahm Emanuel.

Lightfoot also becomes the highest-ranking LGBTQ mayor in American history and the only black openly lesbian mayor in the nation.

Watch: Lori Lightfoot sworn in as Chicago mayor

Related: Lightfoot named Honorary Grand Marshal of 2019 Chicago Pride Parade