CHICAGO — History was made Monday as Lori Lightfoot took the oath of office as Chicago's 56th mayor.
"I stand here today as your mayor, humble and hopeful, and I make one solemn promise to the generations who came before us and to the generations who come after us: We will continue to build this great city…and leave it better, stronger, fairer, and more prosperous than we found it. The challenges we face today did not arise overnight, and they will not be solved overnight, and they certainly won’t be solved by one mayor acting alone," said Lightfoot.
Lightfoot is the first African-American woman and first openly LGBTQ+ person elected to the office. She’ll also assume the office with a resounding mandate after winning 74 percent of the vote and a majority in every ward.
"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," said Lightfoot. "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. I know we’re a little bit closer as we celebrate that, for the first time in the history of Chicago, women of color now hold all three of our city-wide elected offices."
The official swearing-in ceremony began at 10:30 a.m. at Wintrust Arena where 8,000 free tickets have been given out.
City Clerk Anna Valencia and Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin also took their oaths. It’s the first time all women will hold those citywide offices. All 50 alderman will take their oaths, as well.
The star of Chicago's Hamilton, Miguel Cervantes, and the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus both performed during the ceremony.
Lightfoot, who ran on a platform of ending corruption and Chicago's political machine, is wasting no time.
The first order of business for the 56-year-old former federal prosecutor and past head of the police board, was to sign an executive order that will require city departments to lay out a plan that will end “aldermanic prerogative.” That privilege gives alderman the final say on zoning and permits in their ward.
"This does not mean our Aldermen won’t have power in their communities. It does not mean our Aldermen won’t be able to make sure the streetlights are working …or the parking signs are in the right place …or any of the thousands of good things they do for people every day. It simply means ending their unilateral, unchecked control over on every single thing that goes on their wards. Alderman will have a voice, not a veto," said Lightfoot.
Following the ceremony, Lightfoot and her wife, Amy Eshleman, will host an open house on the 5th floor of City Hall. The public is invited to attend from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
It will then be on to business as Mayor Lightfoot prepares for her first summer, which usually comes with a rise in gun violence.
"What this means for me is that there is no higher calling than restoring safety and peace in our neighborhoods. We will develop a new, proactive strategy in partnership with the communities hit hardest by the scourge of gun violence. All of our stakeholders must be committed to this work. This is not a challenge that can be solved by law enforcement alone, nor will we ever place the blame on people in communities who are under siege. No, this greatest challenge demands all of us, united together. And I promise you, the city will lead and we’ve already begun this work," said Lightfoot.