Lightfoot Urges Unity In 'State Of The City' Address

WBBM Newsradio Staff
June 02, 2020 - 6:52 pm
Lightfoot State Of The City

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (Chicago City Government)

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Chicago Mayor Lightfoot on Tuesday delivered a State of the City address Tuesday in the wake of civil-rights protests and violence and promised to begin implementing immediate measures to improve policing and assist small businesses.

Lightfoot emphasized she supports the right of protesters to demonstrate peacefully but condemned criminal activity that has accompanied marches here and in other cities. The unrest was sparked by last week’s killing of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis. 

The Chicago mayor said her city has its own long history of racial inequality and abuse at the hands of police. She said she has directed her new Police superintendent, David Brown, to expedite a number of reforms that include community input at the police training academy.

"This means training for district law enforcement on the history of neighborhoods taught from the perspective of community members," Lightfoot said.

To help rebuild distressed communities, Lightfoot said, a $10 million fund will make grants available to businesses on the South and West sides. The mayor said she’ll ask the private sector and philanthropists to augment the money. 

Tuesday's address was announced with little advance notice and comes as Chicago prepares to move into Phase 3 of reopening on Wednesday following the restrictive stay-at-home order related to the pandemic.

Overall, there was little news made, given Lightfoot's constant public appearances and announcements in the past few days. The speech seemed as much designed to offer a pep talk to residents who may be reeling.

"If there is to be an uprising, let it be for peace," Lightfoot said. "I call on all people of good will -- young, old, black, brown, white, Asian, from all faith traditions -- to rise up with me for peace. Stand for peace."