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lori lightfoot might be black and gay, but is she our friend?

April 7, 2019
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Lori Lightfoot is going to be the first Black lesbian mayor of Chicago, the 6th largest city in America, replacing Rahm Emanuel after his eight-year reign. And while we’re excited about our shared identities with Lighfoot as queer Black people, it’s so important to remember that not all skinfolk are kinfolk.

The reality of Lori Lightfoot is that she’s a lot closer to someone like Kamala Harris than we might realize. A former prosecutor, too, much of Lightfoot’s career has been on the side of law enforcement and not on the side of the people.

Her experience in politics is career-spanning, too. As a JD candidate at the University of Chicago Law School in 1989 she was a legislative aide in the offices of Ohio Republican Congressman Ralph Regula and Maryland Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Mikulski. After that she worked as clerk for Justice Charles Levin of Michigan Supreme County. A lawyer by trade, Lightfoot’s work in the political arena always touched on criminal justice. As the chief administrator of Chicago Police Departments’ Office of Professional Standards in the early part of the millennium, her job regularly required her to defend the department from critique. Because which police department in America is less deserving of critique than the Chicago PD, right?

And, now, the new mayor-elect has expressed concern over the Jussie Smollett case and how it was handled. Definitely a super controversial case, but why are you more worried about citizen accountability than you were about police accountability when they’re killing folks?

“We cannot create the perception that if you’re rich or famous or both that you got one set of justice — and for everybody else it’s something much harsher,” Lightfoot told Craig Melvin on MSNBC last week. “That won’t do and we need to make sure that we have a criminal justice system that has integrity.”

Maybe start with the people in charge of enforcing laws?