Lori Lightfoots win inspired hope, but some see a continuation of previous administrations
Lori Lightfoots decisive win last week to be elected the first black woman and first openly gay person as mayor of Chicago has inspired hope among many in the city that she could bring reform to City Hall and better represent many communities that have long been ignored by local leadership.
But Lightfoot has also elicited concern among some activists here who have called her status as a reformer into question and suggested she represents a continuation of previous administrations policies agendas they say have been detrimental to black, brown and LGBTQ Chicagoans.
That such conflicting views of the incoming mayors record, values and agenda can co-exist seems to reflect a schism between city government and many of the communities it should represent and disagreements about how best to bridge those divides.
Weve waited more than 30 years to have a champion [in office] who will represent all communities, said Reverend Ira Acree, a pastor in Chicagos predominantly African American Austin neighborhood on the citys west side. Im very excited to have an ally at city hall. Its been a long time for me.
For Acree, who endorsed Lightfoot, shes a potentially transformative figure who is serious about empowering Chicagos south and west sides: predominantly black and brown communities often ignored in favor of the citys downtown and north side. Acree believes her experience leading police oversight groups here could help her bring needed reform to the citys controversial law enforcement system.
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