Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Political experts weigh in on Lori Lightfoot's road ahead
by Matt Simonette
2019-04-10

This article shared 2691 times since Wed Apr 10, 2019
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


As Chicago moves ahead after a tumultuous municipal election season, it now falls on Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot to prepare for an administration that is responsive to the needs of all the city's residents before she is sworn in next month.

While the position wields enormous political power, it also comes with responsibilities and frustrations that past mayors have failed to solve, among them shattered police-community relations; violence and public-safety concerns; an underfunded and struggling public school system; crumbling infrastructure; and looming, potentially crippling pension responsibilities.

Cathy Cohen, a professor in University of Chicago's department of political science who also founded the Black Youth Project, said she believes that Lightfoot won the election because those who came out to vote for her were "desperate for change—and not just the type of change that comes about for [the novelty of] having a Black lesbian for mayor."

She added, "They want a community reinvested in. They want quality public education. They want a police force that is respectful and responsive to all people in the city. I would remind [Lightfoot] to center those who are most marginal as she evaluates how to try to reshape the city."

Voter turnout on April 2 was low, and the results were enormously lopsided in Lightfoot's favor; the corporate attorney and former federal prosecutor captured three-quarters of all votes cast for mayor, and won in all 50 of the city's wards.

"Even though [opponent Cook County Board President] Toni Preckwinkle may have had an agenda that in all reality was fairly similar to Lori Lightfoot's, I think voters were really looking for symbolic change," Cohen said. "They were looking for someone who at least professed to be outside of the machine. They wanted someone who hadn't had years of dealing with the Daleys. They wanted someone who represented a new possibility for the city of Chicago, and its politics and future."

She further noted, "Even though people think of [the election] as a referendum on Toni Preckwinkle, I think it's more of a referendum on Machine politics in the city. I think some people are excited, but I think at the same time people are holding their breath—will this really be something new? Will this be an opportunity to define the city and center communities on the South and West sides that have long been the sites of disinvestment?"

Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker—the first openly lesbian mayor of a major metropolitan city—spoke enthusiastically about Lightfoot. Parker now heads up Victory Fund, a national organization that provides financial support and political-strategy training for LGBT candidates across the country; Victory Fund began backing Lightfoot last summer. Parker admitted that Lightfoot nevertheless faces more daunting challenges than she'd ever experienced in her six years as mayor of Houston.

"[Victory Fund] believes her being mayor will have an outsized impact," Parker said. "It did when I was mayor of Houston. But I know that, as much as it might pain me to admit it, Chicago has a much bigger impact on the national political scene than Houston, even though they are cities of comparable size. [Lightfoot] will have a platform, a bully pulpit, to drive conversations and debates."

Brian Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois noted a number of issues Lightfoot faces.

"The mayor-elect is going to have to wrestle with our structural finances," he noted. "What does I mean to have a police force that is just, and able to keep the city safe? What does it mean to have schools that are equitable and where students, no matter their race, income or class, have the opportunity to reach their full potential in a city with a million fewer residents than we did a few decades ago. These are the big-picture questions that I think Mayor-elect Lightfoot is going to have to grapple with. That's why the mandate that she had, winning all 50 wards, is the best foundation [voters] could have given her."

But Parker added, "It's both a blessing a curse to have such a lopsided vote. A lot of people are going to have expectations for a quick turnaround—that's just not going to happen in a hurry. She is going to have to manage expectations and really prioritize so that she can deliver some of the promises without people becoming discouraged when it doesn't happen immediately."

Lightfoot will face additional challenges in constructively engaging communities who have been critical of her, especially for her work on the Chicago Police Board and other investigative and adjudicative bodies addressing police violence and corruption. Her public appearances during her campaign were sometimes interrupted by protestors who felt her prosecutions lacked teeth, and that Lightfoot had brusquely dealt with victims and their families.

"[Lightfoot] has to engage them," Cohen said of those critics. "She has at times been disrespectful and demeaning to young activists. She has to recognize that, and I believe and hope that she does. They are a political force in this city—they've introduced to us, for example, a language about abolition in such a way that all candidates had to think about it in discussions about the police. They have been against the cop academy. These are young people who are not just mobilizing; they're setting out policies and a future vision about what the city can be, and how institutions should respond and engage with marginalized communities."

Cohen added, "One of the first things [Lightfoot] has to do is sit down with those groups to take those positions seriously, recognize that they are going to hold her accountable and see that they are major stakeholders in what will hopefully be a reimagining of what Chicago can be in the future."

Johnson said that, even with her many other looming challenges, the LGBT community needs to hold Lightfoot accountable for her promises to the community.

"We should expect her to be as aggressive and courageous on the issues that are as important to us as she would be to the issues facing the city at large," he added. "We should see LGBTQ people in meaningful senior roles in her administration. We should demand that our police force polices us with more respect and equitably, particularly [community members who are] trans women of color. We should expect LGBTQ young people of color should go to school in an accepting and affirming environment, and that they risks that they face for violence and homelessness will go down."


This article shared 2691 times since Wed Apr 10, 2019
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Hastert settles sexual-abuse lawsuit
2021-09-16
Days before a trial was set to begin, former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert reached a tentative settlement in a hush-money lawsuit filed by a man whose decades-old sexual-abuse allegations led to the politician's downfall six ...


Gay News

Now, only five of Chicago's 50 aldermen reject automatic pay raises
2021-09-16
Forty-five out of 50 Chicago aldermen have opted to accept a 5.5% pay increase in 2022 that will push the highest paid among them to an annual salary of more than $130,000, according to The Chicago Tribune. ...


Gay News

Chicago alderman apologizes for 'offensive words'
2021-09-15
Jim Gardiner, alderman of Chicago's 45th Ward, apologized during the Sept. 14 Chicago City Council meeting for his "offensive words" but said he "never acted on any of those rants" in which he appeared to call ...


Gay News

Gov. Pritzker signs transformative energy legislation for Illinois
2021-09-15
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Delivering on principles previously laid out, Governor JB Pritzker signed landmark legislation into law that puts the state on a path toward 100% clean energy, invests in training a diverse workforce for the jobs ...


Gay News

Gavin Newsom wins Calif. recall election
2021-09-15
On Sept. 14, California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom defeated a GOP-backed effort to remove him from office, media outlets reported. Speaking from Sacramento, Newsom thanked Californians for rejecting the recall effort, according to CNN.com. He also ...


Gay News

Catholic theologians urge protections for LGBTQ+ people
2021-09-14
More than 750 of the nation's leading Catholic theologians, church leaders, scholars, educators and writers have joined New Ways Ministry in voicing support for nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people, according to a New Ways press release. ...


Gay News

'Homophile' organization New Gay Liberation Front launches
2021-09-13
The New Gay Liberation Front—which described itself in a press release as a "homophile organization"—has launched. "Homophile" is a term that was used by some gay and lesbian groups in the 1950s. According to the University ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Teachers, GLAAD talks HRC, 9/11 items, Dr. Rachel Levine
2021-09-12
In North Carolina, a former teacher won a lawsuit against Charlotte Catholic High School and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte after he lost his job following an announcement on Facebook that he planned to marry ...


Gay News

WORLD False report, Indian activist dies, fashion exhibit, LGBT Awards
2021-09-12
In Spain, a man who claimed eight hooded men carved an anti-gay slur on his butt using a knife in a horrific hate crime later said the act was consensual, according to out.com. According to police ...


Gay News

Lightfoot attends 'Parade of Hearts' public-art installation series launch
2021-09-09
--From a press release - CHICAGO (September 8, 2021) — The Love, Unity & Values (LUV) Institute, a Chicago non-profit, unveiled a new series of neighborhood art installations Sept. 8 to launch the Parade of Hearts, an initiative to commemorate the ...


Gay News

Constand breaks silence about Bill Cosby
2021-09-07
Bill Cosby accuser Andrea Constand is breaking her silence to NBC News about the comic/actor's release from prison two months ago, Deadline noted. In a brief clip, Constand tells Kate Snow she "was really shocked — ...


Gay News

HRC fires its president, Alphonso David
2021-09-07
On Sept. 6, the national LGBTQ+ organization the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) fired its president, Alphonso David, for advising now-former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during his sexual-harassment scandal ...


Gay News

Afghan LGBTQs in peril, with little help in sight
2021-09-06
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of LGBT Afghan citizens, who dared to take modest steps toward living openly when their country was under the occupation and influence of a more tolerant "western culture," are now literally hiding in ...


Gay News

HRC president refuses to resign, despite co-chairs' reported request
2021-09-06
Alphonso David, the president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), has refused to resign in the midst of controversy—even after the organization's co-chairs reportedly requested that he do so. According to NBC New York, David is ...


Gay News

LGBTQ+ exhibit removed from Missouri Capitol
2021-09-05
Kansas City Sen. Greg Razer, the only openly gay member of the Missouri Senate, demanded an explanation after an exhibit on the LGBTQ+-rights movement in Kansas City was removed from the state Capitol (in Jefferson City) ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.