Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, D., defended her controversial announcement to only give individual interviews to journalists of color and blasted Chicago media institutions for their “overwhelming whiteness and maleness” in an extraordinary letter on Wednesday.
Upon the two-year anniversary of her election, Lightfoot has drawn outrage after White journalists were told by her press office that they couldn’t interview her one-on-one because of their skin color.
In a two-page letter to the media, Lightfoot, the first Black woman as well as the first openly gay mayor in Chicago’s history, praised her own 2019 election for “breaking barriers” and took a shot at media organizations in the city for not adequately addressing “institutionalized racism” in their ranks. Her decision to temporarily only speak to Black and Brown reporters, she said, was part of her lifelong battle to fight for diversity and inclusion.
“In looking at the absence of diversity across the City Hall press corps and other newsrooms, sadly it does not appear that many of the media institutions in Chicago have caught on and truly have not embraced this moment,” she wrote. “I have been struck since my first day on the campaign trail back in 2018 by the overwhelming whiteness and maleness of Chicago media outlets, editorial boards, the political press corps, and yes, the City Hall press corps specifically.”