by G. Brown
The city known as the home of the first skyscraper in the world, periodically the FBI’s Murder Capital, Al Capone and deep dish pizza can add another notable entry to its history. Chicago has elected its first Black female Mayor.
Lori Lightfoot rode to a landslide victory on Tuesday pulling in nearly 74 percent of the votes. That landslide win also lands Lightfoot in the history books as the first Black woman elected as Mayor to the third largest city in the country. And since she’s riding the wave of groundbreaking, add to Lightfoot’s bio that she is gay.
Shattering so many ceilings, Lightfoot’s victory may be the new face of a burgeoning political landscape. We saw the biggest wave of this new political branding with the current Congress. According to the Pew Research Center, “women make up nearly a quarter of voting members” of the 116th Congress. That’s the highest percentage in U.S. history with 102 women in the House of Representatives. When you consider that “more than a third of those women (35) won their seats for the first time” in last year’s midterms, it’s apparent something is changing in American politics.
Fresh faces of color like former bartender Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are clearly disrupting the ‘good ole boy fraternity’ with progressive ideas like the Green New Deal, Medicare for all and free college tuition.
Yet, with women and especially women of color enjoying this new trajectory, it’s a bit premature to cancel future meetings of the suffragette society. In the crowded Democratic field of 2020 Presidential candidates, at least six are women, four are minorities and one is openly gay. A recent political site said Dems are under pressure to bring on more minorities because people are tired of “Old, male, and pale”. While that headline still makes me laugh, it doesn’t mean candidates like Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Cory Booker still won’t have to fight for votes and positive press coverage. In the days after she officially announced her candidacy, Harris had to endure questions about whether she is Black enough because her mother is Indian. And her history as a former California prosecutor and Attorney General is dragging up bitter criticisms that she hurt minorities more than helped them. Yet, Harris still managed to raise millions for her presidential bid in record time, but only candidates Beto O’Rourke and Senator Bernie Sanders were praised almost non-stop on mainstream media for fundraising results similar to Harris’. Harris, Warren and the rest of the female candidates can’t win if they can’t get fair coverage and while voters of America seem ready indeed for something beyond the old status quo of “old, male and pale”, mainstream media has got to step up and do a better job of letting viewers know all the choices available to them and not showing favor to their ideal candidates.