Calling on Chicagoans to help build a "better, more equitable and inclusive city," Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Friday detailed what she referred to as "bold actions" to help residents recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marking the one-year anniversary of the pandemic, Lightfoot led a moment of silence in remembrance of the 5,000 Chicagoans who died from COVID-19 in the past year.
"This has been a year of loss. A year of pain," the mayor explained during her evening address at City Hall. "But through that shroud of pain and grief, Chicago has continued to be the resilient city that we have always been."
Lightfoot touted the city's creation of the Racial Equity Rapid Response Team, which addressed "the horrific number of Black folks dying from COVID" and "the disproportionate impacts of the virus in the Latinx communities."
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Looking ahead to the future, the mayor pledged that "no longer will ZIP code determine destiny."
"The success of our recovery will not just be measured by the size of busy
downtown crowds or our GDP, but how quickly residents who have been hit the
hardest are able to get back on their feet and move forward with confidence," she explained.
Lightfoot said in the coming months, she'll make sure that Chicagoans truly benefit from relief contained in the American Rescue Plan, including accessing more essential housing as well as utility assistance.
Additionally, the mayor explained she'll take action to accelerate the recovery of small businesses and unveil a new suite of protections for workers, particularly low-wage workers who have been especially hard by the pandemic.
Other proposals include connecting young people to career pathways as well as social and emotional supports, expanding community-level resources for mental health and wellness and investing in the success of industries with a high potential of growth, such as community health, logistics tech and transportation.
Lightfoot also pleaded with residents to keep following public health guidance, stay masked up and get vaccinated.
"Simply put, we must keep asking whether we have made progress in unleashing
the talent and potential of our people so that all of us can live a healthy life full of
meaning and purpose, free from fear of today or tomorrow," she said.