Chicago has officially welcomed its 57th and second Black male mayor since the late Harold Washington. The inauguration ceremony gave citizens of the windy city a true glimpse at the ultimate plan their new mayor has to revive the “Soul of Chicago.”
The ceremony of speakers included several familiar faces, from the opening prayer by Rev Otis Moss, III (Trinity United Church of Christ), to the poetic words of Chicago poet Laureate Avery R. Young, to the melodic sounds of legendary gospel singer Karen Clark Sheard. Mayor Johnson proved to be quite the comedian, referencing the mention of his “new cousins,” which was certainly a hit amongst a crowd packed with dignitaries, friends, and those who reside on Chicago’s West Side. It was also a pleasure to listen to him speak on how his Wife of 25 years is making history, being the first Black First Lady in the history of Chicago.
Johnson, age 47, previously served not only as a Chicago Public Schools educator but later as a Union Organizer for the Chicago Teachers Union in 2011 and Cook County Commissioner (1st District) in 2018. Notable moments during his previous positions include helping to organize the 2012 Chicago Teachers’ strike and leading the efforts to pass the “Just Housing Ordinance,” which prohibited housing discrimination against those previously incarcerated.
Johnson also played a pivotal role in assembling the “Save Our Seniors” initiative at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Given his history, Mayor Johnson is prepared to continue his leadership path, charging all of Chicago to assist him in this great task, including his campaign promise to eliminate the city’s gang database once and for all!
Mayor Johnson touched on his goals throughout his inauguration to revive the Soul of Chicago, such as reopening mental health facilities, securing more opportunities for Chicago’s youth to obtain employment, and fixing the public transportation system. He discussed some of the financial burdens that Chicagoans face – just living day to day – and even made it personal by saying, “You can’t make people feel bad because they have a payment plan. You can’t stop someone with a payment plan from becoming the mayor of the city of Chicago”, which received a standing ovation.
“A brand new Chicago is in front of us,” said Johnson, giving hope to residents residing in what is the third largest city in the United States. The attendees left the ceremony with smiles on their faces, knowing that the work ahead included them as well. We look forward to what Mayor Johnson will bring to this great city, as its people look forward to the work they’ve been tasked with to help restore the “Soul of Chicago.”