At Issue: With A Black Mayor In Office, Where Does Chicago Stand On Race Relations Today?

Craig Dellimore
December 14, 2019 - 5:56 pm
Calmetta Coleman, Chicago Urban League

(Craig Dellimore/WBBM)


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Whether we’re talking about things like police accountability, economic development or healthcare, the issue of race seems to come are everywhere in Chicago. And it’s been an issue since before the Chicago Urban League was created in 1916.

So we asked Calmetta Coleman, the Urban League’s senior vice president for external affairs, if it seems things are getting better here, or worse. Both, she says.

Chicago has its first black female mayor, Coleman said, but there's still systemic racism at play.

"We can't deny progress but at the same time, tensions in this city and across the country (within) racial issues are still very real," Coleman said. "There is still a lot of hatred and discrimination and frankly, it is systemic and institutionalized." 

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she’s trying to address many of the systemic problems with her policies and initiatives.

Lightfoot is quick to say that her administration is not able to do all that many of her supporters wanted or expect her to do to reverse years and years of systematic and widespread racial inequities in Chicago.

Still, she says her initiatives are all viewed with an eye towards combatting the effects of racism. Coleman said her group continues to push for progress, but it’s sometimes tough. 

We talk about the pervasive issues of race in Chicago on our At Issue program this weekend and you can hear more at 9:30 this morning and evening.

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