Last week, a special mayoral election in Chicago resulted in two Black women — Toni Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot — chosen as the final two candidates slated to compete in a runoff election on April 2, 2019.
Preckwinkle is the current Cook County board president and the current chair of the Cook County Democratic Party. She also served as a Chicago Public Schools teacher for 10 years. According to NBC Chicago, if Preckwinkle were to win, she would become the first mayor to also chair the Cook County Democratic Party since Richard J. Daley.
Lightfoot was most recently an equity partner at Mayer Brown LLP. She also served as former Chicago Police board president and a former assistant United States attorney. If Lightfoot were to win, she would become the first openly gay mayor in the city of Chicago.
The race between Preckwinkle and Lightfoot for the city’s top office is representative of the rapidly growing number of Black women mayors in the United States. In celebration of Women’s History Month, check out this list of 15 amazing Black women who also are affecting meaningful change as political leaders in their communities:
- Karen Weaver, mayor of Flint, Michigan
- Toni Harp, mayor of New Haven, Connecticut
- Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington, D.C.
- Takisha James, mayor of Bladensburg, Maryland
- Vi Lyles, mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina
- Yvonne M. Spicer, mayor of Framingham, Massachusetts
- Keisha Lance Bottoms, mayor of Atlanta
- Latoya Cantrell, mayor-elect of New Orleans
- Sharon Weston Broome, mayor of Baton Rouge, Louisiana
- Catherine Pugh, mayor of Baltimore
- Aja Brown, mayor of Compton, California
- Karen Freeman-Wilson, mayor of Gary, Indiana
- London Breed, mayor of San Francisco
- Lovely Warren, mayor of Rochester, New York
- Acquanetta Warren, mayor of Fontana, California