A long-running battle by Black Chicagoans to oust Mayor Rahm Emanuel will soon come to an end. Emanuel will not run for re-election for a third term, he said in a surprise announcement on Tuesday (Sept. 4).
“This has been the job of a lifetime but it is not a job for a lifetime,” Emanuel said, according to NBC-owned WMAQ.
Emanuel’s unexpected move comes after several Black candidates threw their hats into the 2019 city mayoral race ring. The crowded list includes these African-American mayoral hopefuls: Lori Lightfoot, a former assistant U.S. attorney and an Emanuel appointee for president of the Chicago Police Board; Dorothy Brown, clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, who is under a federal grand jury investigation into allegedly selling jobs and promotions in her office; and Ja’Mal Green, a community activist in Chicago’s Black Lives Matter movement and strong Emanuel critic. Green has gone to jail over his participation in protests against Emanuel and the city’s police force.
Troy LaRaviere, president of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, is also in the running. Willie Wilson, a former Chicago mayoral candidate in 2015 and businessman, and Neal Sáles-Griffin, a 30-year-old tech entrepreneur, are more who are hoping to win the mayor’s seat. Amara Enyia, the daughter of Nigerian immigrants and director of the Austin Chamber of Commerce who tried to run for mayor in 2014, is also in the race.
Black candidates have already addressed police brutality — an issue front-and-center as former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke‘s trial gets underway. Dyke fired 16 gunshots and killed unarmed 17-year-old LaQuan McDonald in 2014 in a fatal shooting that sent Chicago into a state of unrest. Allegations of evidence tampering and a police cover-up began circulating after the incident.