CHICAGO — Mayor Brandon Johnson took the opportunity to speak on issues affecting the city of Chicago Sunday at the Freedom, Dreams and Chicago Futures Forum on the campus of the University of Illinois-Chicago.
“I’ve made it very clear that there is room at the table for everyone,” Johnson said at the podium Sunday. “I’m not going to govern like the previous mayors and shut people out because we have a different ideological frame.”
One thing Johnson is unwilling to budge on is an emphasis on the young people of Chicago.
“Me, I’m a mother so it’s like, yeah, don’t compromise on the youth because they are the future,” said Lanetta Thomas, an attendee at the forum. “If they have the investment into things that invest in them, they will create the future where there is no violence or stem programs where they know to be environmentally friendly.”
Johnson also explained how using the City’s guaranteed income program will help his administration center plans and initiatives for the formerly incarcerated population.
“We have to reshape the conversation of those who are formerly incarcerated,” Johnson said. “Because many of the individuals who suffered trauma and disinvestment were then penalized for the manifestation of the trauma that was imposed on them.”
Richard Wallace, a panelist for the conversation with Johnson, said it was an opportunity to push the newly-inaugurated mayor to answer tough questions impacting communities across Chicago.
“I got to ask the hard questions and got hard answers,” Wallace said. “And that is that we’re going to have to work towards this collectively. It’s not going to be an easy road, but we all have to pick up where there is space to be picked up.”
At the conclusion of the conversation, Johnson was asked what he saw for the City come 2027.
“Don’t let 2027 be about me,” Johnson said. “Let it be about all of us.”