Community members, organizations and Illinois elected officials gathered at the McCormick Place Hyatt Regency on Saturday, May 11, 2019, to celebrate Chicago Mayor-elect Lori E. Lightfoot and offered the sentiment of “All in for ONE United Chicago.”
The event was organized to promote a united, inclusive Chicago of togetherness that expands across all neighborhoods, ethnicities, and races.
Mayor-elect Lightfoot welcomed the opportunity for attendees to get to know more about her during an exclusive Fireside Chat facilitated by journalist, author, women’s and diversity advocate Star Jones Lugo. Today, women have achieved greater status and success in the world and Chicago is a part of that momentum giving us a reason to celebrate, yet again.
“This is an exciting time for women, and we have taken the opportunity to pause and celebrate the dedication and contribution that women are making to society,” said event organizer Kimberly McCullough-Starks. The words of Mayor-elect Lightfoot resonated across Chicago during her election victory speech. Her statement that “we are in this together and will grow together” led to a movement to support that call-to-action. People of all shades of melanin, different races, ethnicities, income levels and all faiths came together to assist in empowering that message forward. “After this wonderful Fireside Chat, we look forward to continuing the dialogue after the inauguration,” said McCullough-Starks.
“I’m honored to join Star Jones on stage at Melanin Empowered! Thank you, Kim McCullough, Star, all honorees, and the entire host committee for the important discussion about issues affecting women of color,” said Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot.
Mayor-elect Lightfoot was sworn in on May 20 at the Wintrust Arena. Melanin Empowered! gathered in advance to encourage, uplift and inspire the call-to-action. Women from almost every community in Chicago listened intently as the Mayor-elect responded to questions related to safety in communities, violence prevention, her career path, equality for all and more. Mayor-elect Lightfoot was poised, open and sincere in her responses. She was also clear with a request to each attendee to determine how each can assist in Chicago growing together as one, so that every community and family thrives.
“I was thrilled to see so many women in the room from across the region to celebrate and uplift Mayor Elect Lightfoot as she enters her new role. The wide array of women in the room represents what Melanin Empowered is all about…uniting, supporting and empowering women to make a positive difference in our neighborhoods for a better Chicago,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly, an early endorser.
“I’m honored to have facilitated the Fireside Chat with Mayor-elect Lightfoot. Her professional and candid responses reflect that she is prepared and up for the challenges that come with running the 3rd largest city in the nation,” said Star Jones Lugo.
Chicago politics is not for the faint of heart...but with the right leader, the challenges can become opportunities to change circumstances. Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot is accomplished, qualified and ready to lead with a mandate at her back. Melanin Empowered! gathered a cross-section of women from all backgrounds, experiences and economic circumstances to not only talk about some of the issues that matter most to us; but to also show the Mayor-elect that she has our 100% support as she steps into history as the first black female leader of one of the largest cities in United States.
“This celebration is a great start for women from across our city to come together to help all of our communities become better, especially the south and west sides of Chicago. Women, working together to can have a big impact on changing our neighborhoods,” said City Budget Chairman Carrie Austin.
Nikki Hayes, President of Laborers Local 1001 organization represents members working in Streets and Sanitation, CDOT and many other departments. “Jobs in this industry have paved the way to a blue-collar, middle-class way of life for thousands of families across the city of Chicago. We appreciate and thank, Mayor Elect Lori Lightfoot’s promise to keep open the line of communication to create and protect good union jobs to boost our community,” said Laborers Local 1001 President Nikki Hayes.
“Chicago, while often celebrated for its diversity remains one of the most segregated cities in America. The issue has made it difficult enough for Black families to gain access to economic activity, and has forced them to live near poorer educational opportunities than other people. The reality is that when neighborhoods of color are left behind, it stifles the entire city’s potential because those who benefit from segregation fail to realize that those benefits come at the cost of innovation, perspective and creativity,“ said Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford.
“Organizations like Melanin Empowered! can help push this narrative beyond amplifying the struggles of poor communities by showing the business and economic potential we lose when we ignore their needs. We need each other to move Chicago to even higher ranks,” said Senate Majority Leader Lightford.
Alderman Michelle Harris said it is an important moment in Chicago’s history. Bringing women of color together to support and empower our first African America female mayor is vital to the Mayor-elect’s success! I’m looking forward to working with our new mayor!
“We continue to support local businesses and secure new business opportunities in Chicago for inclusive economic growth that expands across all neighborhoods. World Business Chicago is on track for promoting Chicago as a leading global city for economic development and successful business opportunities. We look forward to continued support of our local businesses and expanding our scope of world opportunities under the new leadership of Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot,” said Andrea Zopp, President and CEO of World Business Chicago.
Alderwoman Sophia King was elated to recently host such a remarkable group of women in the 4th Ward in celebration of The First African American Female Mayor of Chicago Mayor-Elect, Lori Lightfoot. “It’s wonderful to see so many women, especially African American women coming together to celebrate each other. Thank you to Kimberly McCullough-Starks of Platinum Public Strategies for her leadership in bringing us together!” said Alderwoman Sophia King.
We must continue to lift each other up. We have great strength in numbers - And so do others! Let’s harness it and use it to its full capacity to help our next Mayor, Lori Lightfoot, and other leaders lift our communities up.
Mayor-elect Lightford thanked Star, Kim McCullough-Starks, all the honorees, and the entire host committee for the important discussion about issues affecting women of color.
As the world spotlight continually shines on Chicago, Melanin Empowered! embraces all Illinois history making moments and will be part of the positive change that continues to move our great city in the right direction.
Special Recognition for the 2019 Black Girl Magic! Honorees
The Honorable Jehan Gordon-Booth
The Honorable Toi Hutchinson
The Honorable Kimberly A. Lightford
The Honorable Kari Steele
The Honorable Julianna Stratton
The Honorable Lauren Underwood
Honorary Host Committee
The Honorable Carrie Austin
The Honorable Stephanie Coleman
The Honorable Pat Dowell
The Honorable Kim DuBuclet
The Honorable Kimberly Foxx
The Honorable Maria Hadden
The Honorable Michelle Harris
The Honorable Robin Kelly
The Honorable Sophia King
The Honorable Camille Lilly
The Honorable Emma Mitts
The Honorable Barbara McGowen
The Honorable Stephanie Neely
The Honorable Jeanette Taylor
The Honorable Patricia Van Pelt
The Honorable Litesea Wallace
Host Committee In Formation
Melody Spann Cooper
Nicole “Nikki” Hayes
Dyanna Knight Lewis
Star Jones Lugo