City Cast

What to Know About Mayoral Inaugurations

Sidney Madden
Sidney Madden
Posted on June 5
Brandon Johnson stands at a podium onstage, smiling

Brandon Johnson at a rally at the UIC Forum on the Near West Side March 30. (Jim Vondruska / Getty)

Brandon Johnson will become our 57th mayor today. Here’s what we know about the inauguration and how it compares to his predecessors'.

What to Expect on Brandon Johnson’s Big Day

The mayor-elect is kicking off the day on a first-of-its-kind “inauguration tour” before going to the UIC Forum, Politico reported.

The ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Near West Side arena, where Johnson had held a rally headlined by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. Then, an open house will be held at City Hall where Chicagoans can meet the new mayor at 2 p.m.

Something else that's new? Johnson is ending the day with “The People’s Ball.” Who’s on the guest list? All elected state officials were invited.

A black-and-white photo of Harold Washington being sworn in

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Charles Freeman swore in Harold Washington at Navy Pier in 1983. (Getty)

A Walk Down Memory Lane

🗳️ In 2019, Lori Lightfoot was sworn in at the Wintrust Arena on the Near South Side. She's city’s first Black woman and openly gay mayor.

🗳️ Emanuel’s 2015 ceremony at the Chicago Theatre was preceded by pre-inauguration events, including a day of service and art in the parks.

🗳️ Richard M. Daley was sworn in six times over 22 years and became the city’s longest-serving mayor. At his first ceremony at Orchestra Hall in 1989, he was criticized for the lack of diversity among his attendees.

🗳️ Harold Washington’s 1983 inauguration at Navy Pier stood in contrast for its effort to be racially, ethnically, and religiously inclusive. The city’s first Black mayor started the open house tradition.

🗳️ Jane Byrne’s 1979 ceremony was held in the council chambers of City Hall. The city’s first woman mayor came up through the Daley machine and defeated Michael Bilandic to serve her only term.

🗳️ Like father, like son: Richard J. Daley was also inaugurated six times. In his first inaugural address in 1955, the elder Daley said he had “no intention of interfering” in the functions of City Council. You know that “strong council, weak mayor” system Chicago is supposed to have 🙃

Rahm Emanuel is sworn in onstage

Rahm Emanuel sworn in by Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans at the Chicago Theatre in 2015. (Phil Velasquez / Tribune / Getty)

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