In an interview with Phil Ponce at WTTW, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot stated that any criticism against her is because she’s a black woman
Theis statement comes after a significant increase in crime in Chicago, and Lightfoot only agreeing to have interviews with journalists of color
During an interview with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Phil Ponce from WTTW news stated that 99% of any criticism of her mayoral work is due to her race and her gender. Lightfoot also stated that she knows that women of color are held to a different standard than others and that critics of hers don’t like to see a woman in power.
Her comments come after reports showing a significant spike of crime in Chicago, and Lightfoot receiving backlash for only having interviews with reporters of color.
The 11-minute interview on “Chicago Tonight” with Phil Ponce and Mayor Lori Lightfoot discussed a demand from 20 city council members that police Superintendent David Brown create a plan of action in the wake of mass shootings over the weekend. Lightfoot stated that the past year and a half has been difficult and that they still have work to do to ensure the safety of Chicago citizens.
“We’ve had a rough 15, 16 months. We are making progress…but we still have a long way to go in making sure that residents all over the city are in fact safe.”
While discussing how she doesn’t support defunding the police, Phil Ponce asked Lightfoot, “Mayor in recent months there’ve been questions raised about your temperament, and your reaction to criticism. A tribune editorial used the term irascible, how much of this do you think might have to do with the fact that you’re a woman, and specifically a black woman?”
Lightfoot responded, “About 99% of it.” Ponce asked Lightfoot to, “expand on that,” to which Lightfoot stated, “Well look at my predecessors. Did people say that Rich Daily held the you know, tea sessions with people that he didn’t disagree on? Ron Emmanuel was a police guy who was an uniter? No.”
“Woman and people of color are always held to a different standard. I understand that I’ve known that my whole life and the tribune or whoever can write whatever they want. What I’m doing is fighting for the residents of this city.”
Lightfoot continued stating that she was elected to “disrupt the status quo” and that she understands that life is a learning experience and that there are things she can be doing “differently and better.” She also stated that critics of hers don’t like seeing a woman in power.
“Life is a lifelong learning experience I hope for me and for others. But I absolutely understand that the critics, some of them who are out there are criticizing me because they don’t like to see a woman assume power and forge ahead on an agenda that is about disrupting the status quo.”
She further went to defend a decision she made in May to only have interviews with people of color, which sparked a lawsuit against the mayor for discrimination. She particularly aimed her criticism at The Tribune editorial board.
“This criticism comes just about a month or so after I made a pointed decision at my two-year anniversary that I was only going to give interviews for that two-year anniversary to journalists of color. And it was like the sky was falling on the part of some of the folks that are an embodiment of the status quo, including some of the media folks.”
The significant increase in violent crime in major cities that Lightfoot called a “pandemic-spurred surge” left seven people dead over the past weekend and causes major concern with the holiday weekend quickly approaching.
As police engagement has decreased across the country, Chicago has reported 31,000 fewer arrests while murder has increased 65% between June 2020 and this February alone. In the first three months of 2020, there were 175 victims of shootings and 28 murders, whereas the first three months of 2021 show 298 victims of shootings and 42 murders.
There has also been an increase in violence towards officers, with a 21-time increase compared to the same time last year.
The deadline for police Superintendent of Chicago Dave Brown to present a plan on how to handle the crime spike is today.