Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says she will only speak with journalists of color as she looks to commemorate the two-year anniversary of her inauguration.
On Wednesday morning (May 19), the mayor took to Twitter to share why she chose to grant interviews to only Black and brown people. “I ran to break up the status quo that was failing so many. That isn’t just in City Hall,” she tweeted. “It’s a shame that in 2021, the City Hall press corps is overwhelmingly white in a city where more than half of the city identifies as Black, Latino, AAPI or Native American.”
“Diversity and inclusion is imperative across all institutions including media. In order to progress, we must change,” she continued. “This is exactly why I’m being intentional about prioritizing media requests from POC reporters on the occasion of the two-year anniversary of my inauguration as mayor of this great city.”
Lightfoot, who is Chicago’s first openly gay mayor and first Black female mayor, described the racial make-up of the City Hall press organization as “an imbalance that needs to change,” adding that the Windy City’s media “should reflect the multiple cultures that comprise it.”
Her tweets were met with mixed reactions. Twitter user @theeasternbloc praised the mayor’s decision, tweeting, “What people don’t realize is that this is a step forward. If a Black person asks a question, then the Black community is represented. This follows from the fact that people of the same color feel the same way and have the same beliefs. That’s representation!”
Chicago Tribune reporter Gregory Pratt says he was granted an interview, but withdrew after the mayor’s office refused to lift the restriction. “I am a Latino reporter @chicagotribune whose interview request was granted for today,” he tweeted. “However, I asked the mayor’s office to lift its condition on others and when they said no, we respectfully canceled. Politicians don’t get to choose who covers them.”
Check out Lightfoot’s tweets below.