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Chicago Notches Two Historic Firsts By Electing Black Woman Who Is Openly Gay As Its New Mayor

Chicago Notches Two Historic Firsts By Electing Black Woman Who Is Openly Gay As Its New Mayor

Winds of change are set to breathe some fresh air through Chicago with a groundbreaking decision of two firsts.

In its 182-year-history, the windy city just elected its first female, African-American mayor, Lori Lightfoot.

When she swears in as the city's mayor, she will also be the first to do so as someone who identifies as an out lesbian.

She thanked voters and pumped her fists in front of the exuberant crowd during her victory speech.

"We may be strangers but in this room, in this city we are all neighbors," Lightfoot told the cheering crowd.

The 56-year-old former federal prosecutor defeated Toni Preckwinkle, also African-American woman, in a historic runoff on Tuesday.

The runoff election was bound to be historic considering both candidates were African-American.

According to a 2010 census data, out of Chicago's approximate 2.7 million population, nearly 33% are black.

With the election over, she looked forward to working with her former opponent.

"In this election Toni and I were competitors, but our differences are nothing compared to what we can achieve together"
"Now that it's over, I know we will work together for the city that we both love."

Lightfoot vowed to remake Chicago together with Preckwinkle.

"Now we're going to take the next steps together. Together we can and will finally put the interests of our people, all of our people, against the interests of a powerful few."

For her concession speech, Preckwinkle, 72, told her supporters:

"This may not be the outcome we wanted but while I may be disappointed, I'm not disheartened."

"Out there tonight a lot of little girls and boys are watching. They're watching us. And they're seeing the beginning of something, well, a little bit different," Lightfoot continued in her speech.

"They're seeing a city reborn. A city where it doesn't matter what color you are."
"Where it doesn't matter who you love, just as long as you love with all your heart."

According to CNN, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Lightfoot to head the police accountability task force in the wake of the October 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. The black teen was shot 16 times as he walked away by a white police officer Jason Van Dyke.

Arthur Lurigio, a professor of psychology and criminal justice at Loyola University Chicago expects the new mayor to address crime-related issues in the city.

He explained the benefits of improved relations between the community and police:

"A new mayor with a plan for police reform and better police-community relations will enhance the quality of life in the city and encourage people -- especially young people who wish to start a family -- to move to the city."
"The perceptions that a new mayor creates about safety and policing could make the city a more attractive place to live and stop the outflow of residents."

Although the election was nonpartisan, a majority of the candidates in February's mayoral election were associated with the Democratic party to varying degrees, according to NBC.

During the election, Lightfoot said she would focus on improving the West and the South Sides neighborhoods and bring more transparency and accountability to city hall.

Here is a compilation video of Lightfoot as the mayoral candidate on the campaign trail.

Contrary to belief, the term "windy city" was derived not from the chilly air gusting from Lake Michigan, but from stuffy politicians notorious for bellowing hot air back in the day.

It's time to blow that distinction into the past because Lori Lightfoot is about to herald in the dawning of a Chicago that is reborn.