Brandon Johnson’s Inauguration Speech: Unify the City Around Tough Issues
Brandon Johnson delivered an inauguration address that primarily centered on inclusivity and collaboration, which will inform how he plans to confront Chicago’s most pressing issues. “That means right now, we get to write the story of our children’s and our grandchildren’s futures. And we get to do that together,” he said. “We get to tell … Continued The post Brandon Johnson’s Inauguration Speech: Unify the City Around Tough Issues appeared first on Chicago Defender.
Brandon Johnson delivered an inauguration address that primarily centered on inclusivity and collaboration, which will inform how he plans to confront Chicago’s most pressing issues.
“That means right now, we get to write the story of our children’s and our grandchildren’s futures. And we get to do that together,” he said. “We get to tell a different story. I’m talking about a story that again binds us together.”
Other critical takeaways from his address are that Johnson wants to open up access to mental health clinics, make the city a refuge for migrants and take a collaborative approach toward public safety.
Johnson began his rousing 40-minute speech by acknowledging the diverse populations’ contributions to the city’s history, from the Native American tribes that first occupied its territory to the Southern Blacks and European immigrants who came here and influenced culture and industry. He referred to the races and ethnicities that comprise the city as “the soul of Chicago.”
He also challenged residents, public officials, police officers and other stakeholders to come together to write a new history, so to speak, for Chicago, especially as it takes on homelessness and the migrant crisis.
“We don’t want our story to be told that we were unable to house the unhoused or provide a safe harbor for those who are seeking refuge here because there’s enough room for everyone in the city of Chicago,” he said.
He added, “Whether you are seeking asylum or you are looking for a fully funded neighborhood, we don’t want our story to say that we did not invest in all of the people and all of the communities that make our city great.”
Johnson also promised to address disinvestment in underfunded communities and provide pathways out of poverty for people through access to colleges, high-tech jobs, trades and apprenticeships.
That theme of collaboration also included issues such as education.
He asked for education stakeholders such as the Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates and SEIU Local 73 President Dian Palmer to work with officials like Chicago Public School CEO Pedro Martinez to come together and advocate more resources for children.
“And so while we’re at it,” declared Johnson, “let’s work together to make sure that there is childcare for all, for every single person in the city of Chicago.”
Yet, one of his most potent, declarative calls to action centered around mental health treatment. In invoking his late brother Leon’s struggles with addiction and homelessness, Johnson said,” I want to make sure that no one ever has to suffer because they do not have access to mental health services.”
He called for the private and public sector, the county, state and federal government to “find the best solutions for delivering these services, including reopening our mental health care centers across the city of Chicago.”
Ultimately, Johnson ended his address by calling upon residents and officials to be allies in his administration’s mission to usher in a new era of inclusivity, equity and collaboration toward solving Chicago’s most pressing issues.
“I’m talking about a revival in the City of Chicago, where the soul of Chicago comes alive,” Johnson said. “A brand new Chicago is in front of us.”
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