The city of Chicago just experienced a historic election resulting in both the first Black woman and first openly gay mayor in history, but that is not stopping the migration of the city’s Black citizens elsewhere.
On April 6, mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot blew out her competitor, another black woman, Toni Preckwinkle in an election, which saw those two face off after an opening field of more than 10 candidates. However, the record-low turn out for the election may be evidence of the current feeling of many who reside in the Windy City. As little as 32% of the city’s citizens turned out to the polls.
Lightfoot is one of the many African-American women to take over a political position in the city. Still, that has not been enough to sway the decision of many Black families to continue to reside in Chicago. People simply want to move.
Although she did not win the city’s highest office, the Chicago Tribune details Preckwinkle will resume her role as the president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners and the chair of the Cook County Democratic Party. Additional Black women hold positions in the city, such as Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson and more.
Despite those advances, WBUR details the city’s Black population is cited by the Urban Institute to only be 665,000 people by the year 2030, as opposed to the peak of 1.2 million.
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Black men also hold high offices in the city, however, the belief in politicians is believed to have dwindled while the high cost of living is steadily rising. The hope for the elected officials is to assist the Black population in both wallets, which would be a contrast to the 33% of Black citizens who are making below minimum wage.
Additional factors to the transition of citizens away from Chicago include high taxes and brutal winters, two factors that additional markets have been able to counter by geographic placement and efforts of government officials to curb or alter the course of rising tax rates.
One of the first efforts of Lightfoot since her victory has been the drop of her opposition to two development deals in the city. The deals would cause $1.6 billion in tax subsidies.
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The projects are known as Lincoln Yards and The 78, with both projects aiming to increase spending with women- and minority-owned firms. The new number of the agreement would be $400 million to those firms.
“I am not yet the mayor, and I recognize that the current administration and City Council must decide whether to carry this vote forward according to the interests of the constituents they serve,” Lightfoot stated. “Either way, upon swearing in, I will engage with the community and committed activists who have advocated forcefully for affordable housing, park space and the responsible use of tax increment financing dollars for many months.”
However, according to CBS Chicago, the decision once again proves controversial as protestors detail the TIF funds, which equate to $700 million, are depriving Chicago Public Schools, which may also add to the list of reasons for departing Black families.