Lightfoot: Chicago's Black neighborhoods portrayed as more troubled, violent than they actually are

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and a key ally claimed Tuesday that the city's Black neighborhoods are portrayed as more troubled and violent than they really are.

"The media doesn't tell the true story of Black Chicago," the mayor told a group at a restaurant in the South Side 8th Ward. 

African Americans have been hit hardest by a 36-percent increase in homicides since 2019 — when Lightfoot took office.

Tuesday was the first day candidates for city office could collect voter signatures on their nominating petitions.

Lightfoot visited the 8th Ward of City Council Member Michelle Harris.

Harris acknowledged how unhappy many voters of all races are, and Harris blamed the pandemic.

"Let me say it again: COVID!" Harris declared. "I wanna remind you all of that when you all sitting up there saying what didn't happen."

Such complaints are familiar to Ald. Sophia King, who is leaving the 4th Ward seat in the City Council.

King's among half-a-dozen African American candidates running to unseat Lightfoot.

After talking to King in front of Valois Restaurant on East 53rd Street, voter Shaquita Townsend signed her name to put King on the ballot in February 2023.

When asked who she voted for in 2019, Townsend said, "Lightfoot."

When asked why she now favors King, Townsend added, "Just because of a lot of things that haven't changed."


King said crime is the issue voters cite most frequently: 

"The number one request I have is for more police, more police presence. So people are afraid," said King.

Ald. Roderick Sawyer of the 6th Ward says he's leaving the City Council to run for mayor.  

He is the son of the deceased Eugene Sawyer, who became interim mayor in 1987 after the death of Harold Washington. 

Lightfoot said Tuesday that Sawyer was chosen by a racist mob.

"Gene Sawyer was instituted as the mayor of the city," said Lightfoot. "And then what happened just a few short years later? That same mob dropped him like a bad apple! Right?"

Chicago Tribune City Hall reporter Gregory Pratt wrote of a recent poll apparently conducted by the Lightfoot re-election campaign. 

It tested a series of potential talking points, including one attacking "the media and the mayor’s political opponents" claiming they "cynically highlight every tragic instance of violence to stoke fear."