Rahm Emanuel takes the reins in Chicago today

Mon. May 16, 2011 5:33 AM by Kevin Wayne

rahm emanuel speaks at center on halsted

photo credit // anthony meade

Chicago’s LGBT community remains optimistic as Emanuel replaces Mayor Richard M. Daley, one of the nation’s most gay-friendly mayors

Chicago, IL - Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel will be formally sworn in today as Chicago's first new mayor in over two decades. Emanuel succeeds Richard M. Daley who ends his 22-year career as one of the nation's most gay-friendly mayors.

"The LGBT Community has had an amazing ally in Mayor Daley, and I believe that will be true of Mayor Emanuel as well," The Civil Rights Agenda executive director Anthony Martinez told GoPride.com. "We have to ensure that the Mayor is held accountable to his campaign promises and to the LGBT Community."

Emanuel, a 51-year-old married father of three, won the Chicago mayoral election on Feb. 22. He was a favorite in Chicago's gay community, receiving the support of over 200 LGBT community leaders and advocates including openly gay state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) and state Rep. Deborah Mell (D-Chicago.)

Like his predecessor, Emanuel is credited with helping make the Center on Halsted become a reality. The LGBT community center located in Lakeview was built in large part with 1.25 million dollars in federal funds that Emanuel helped secure while he served in Congress.

While serving in Congress, Emanuel maintained a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization.

During the city's first Mayoral Candidate Forum on LGBT Issues in February, Emanuel described his mayoral philosophy as one that would be actively concerned with LGBT issues, particularly in protecting HIV/AIDS funding throughout the city and ensuring that the next police and school superintendents share his concern for the community. 

The forum was hosted by over 30 LGBT organizations. This coalition of organizations has remained intact to ensure that the needs of Chicago's LGBT community are heard and addressed.

"We fully expect Mayor Emanuel to carry out his pledge of building a safe and welcoming city, and an administration that is representative of this great city's diversity, including the LGBT community," said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, one of the coalition member organizations.

Martinez added, "With all of the compromises and hard decisions that lie ahead, we need to ensure that the new Mayor does not compromise what is most important to the LGBT community and that those who are most vulnerable in our community are protected."

Inauguration Day ceremonies begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Emanuel will be formally sworn in at 11:15 a.m. The event is open to the public. Mayor Emanuel will then host an open house at City Hall from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Related: Daley and queer Chicago: Reflections on the mayor's last week

Inauguration Schedule (presented from the City of Chicago, times are approximate)

10:30 AM Chicago Children's Choir provides opening prelude, "One Day."

Pledge of Allegiance is led by Chicago International Charter School student, DeJuan Brown

Posting of the Colors by the Lane Tech High School Junior Reserve Officers

National Anthem is led by Heather Headley

Invocation is recited by His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago

10:40 AM Swearing-in of City Clerk-elect Susana Mendoza by the Honorable Anne M. Burke, Illinois Supreme Court Justice

10:45 AM Swearing-in of City Council by Mendoza

Prayer led by Imam Kareem M. Irfan, President of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago

Poetry reading by Chanel Sosa, senior at Innovations High School and 2011 finalist in the poetry slam competition "Louder Than a Bomb."

11:05 AM Swearing in of Treasurer Neely by the Honorable Shelli Williams Hayes, Cook County Circuit Court Judge

Prayer delivered by Pastor Charles Jenkins, Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church

"America the Beautiful" is performed by violinist Clarissa Bevilacqua

11:15 PM Swearing-in of Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel by the Honorable Judge Timothy Evans, Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County

Inaugural Address delivered by Rahm Emanuel

Musical interlude, "We Are," is performed by Chicago Children's Choir

Benediction delivered by Rabbi Jack Moline, Agudas Achim Congregation

Closing postlude, "Wavin' Flag," is performed by Chicago Children's Choir


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