'It's not the critics that count.' Chicago's mayor remains optimistic after a turbulent two years
July 22, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
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Still navigating the Covid-19 pandemic and the record surge in violence that came with it, Lori Lightfoot is past her halfway point as Chicago's mayor. While some find her methods controversial, she finds them necessary.
(CNN)Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been criticized as "racist" -- even as a Black woman -- and she's been called "notoriously thin-skinned" but she remains determined to leave a legacy far beyond her time in office.
Still navigating the Covid-19 pandemic and the record surge in violence that came with it, Lightfoot is past her halfway point as mayor, leading the nation's third largest city.
"It's not the critics that count," Lightfoot said as she walked with CNN through Chicago's West Garfield Park neighborhood, one of the city's most dangerous.
"We've got to build these anchors and infrastructure in the communities," said Lightfoot.
No. I got elected to shake things up," said Lightfoot.
In 2019, amid a decline in violence in the city for a third year in a row, Lightfoot told CNN, "The perception and the reality of safety are really, really important. "
That call for unity comes amid a dynamic of local finger pointing at times between Lightfoot and the Chicago Police Department back and forth with the judicial system over core difficulties in driving violence down.
"We need gun trafficking multi-jurisdictional strike forces to disrupt the flow of illegal guns that are coming into our city," Lightfoot told CNN.
Even with a pandemic, surges in violence, two historic standoffs with the Chicago Teachers Union, accusations of covering up controversial body camera footage, fights over police reform, and more, Lightfoot is still standing and remains optimistic about the future of Chicago.
On Wednesday Lightfoot and the City Council passed legislation to create a civilian oversight body for the Chicago Police Department, an issue she campaigned on but failed to find agreement for until now.
And we're going to continue to be here rain or shine because I know that if we can change the fortunes of this neighborhood, we can do it anywhere in the city," said Lightfoot.