Brandon Johnson Delivers First Speech As Chicago Mayor, Promises Focus On Public Safety
Brandon Johnson has been sworn in as the 57th mayor of the City of Chicago.
Johnson took the oath of office at Credit Union One Arena alongside his family in front of a packed house of supporters, including former Mayor Lori Lightfoot. In an impassioned 40-minute speech, Johnson called for Chicagoans to set aside differences to build “a city that works for everyone.” In April, the 47-year-old former teacher and longtime Chicago Teachers Union organizer defeated Paul Vallas in a tight race for the highly coveted position
Johnson, who most recently served as a Cook County commissioner, inherits a city at the crossroads of several major issues. He’ll be tasked with immediately confronting an influx of migrants in desperate need of shelter, mounting pressure to build support among business leaders, and summer months that historically bring a spike in violent crime, according to the Associated Press.
“Let’s show the world, Chicago, where our heart is,” Johnson said in his inaugural address. “Let’s build a Chicago that is the economic marvel of the state, the Midwest, and this nation. Let’s build a Chicago that means our economy gets to grow by rerouting the rivers of prosperity to the base of disinvestment. So that no one goes thirsty.”
His win marked a victory that proved to pundits that taking a strong stance on divisive topics can be a winning recipe for other progressive candidates. One such topic will be public safety. Chicago is often a scapegoat for national discourse around gun control. Something that Johnson believes he and his team are ready to improve. “A safe Chicago means a safe Chicago for all, no matter what you look like, who you love, or where you live,” the Mayor said Monday. He also promised his strategy would be rooted in more mental health care, violence prevention programs, and police accountability.
Thus far, Johnson has not deviated from the promises he made during his campaign.
In April, violence erupted in the streets of Chicago, and he took the time to stand on his dedication to the city’s youth. He issued a statement urging leaders not to “demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities.” He echoed his commitment on Monday, calling on the community to help reshape the public opinion of the city. “I say this today, with a deep belief and conviction that our best and brighter days are ahead of us. We can lead Chicago to a new era. Together, we can build a better, stronger, safer Chicago. We just have to look deep into the soul of Chicago. Can I get a witness?” Johnson asked.
A performance from legendary Gospel artist Karen Clark Sheard capped the momentous celebration.