Brandon Johnson sworn in as mayor, City Council turns 100 and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is about an eight-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Mayor Brandon Johnson makes his inaugural address during the city of Chicago’s inauguration ceremony at Credit Union 1 Arena today.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about an eight-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

— Matt Moore (@MattKenMoore)

Weather ⛅

This afternoon will be partly sunny with a high near 68 degrees. Tonight, partly cloudy with a low near 51. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high near 80.

Top story

‘Soul’ searching: Johnson takes oath as mayor, vowing ‘to tell a different story’ for ‘Chicago with its sturdy shoulders’

Brandon Johnson was sworn in today as Chicago’s 57th mayor with a promise to “write the story of our children’s and our grandchildren’s futures” by confronting the city’s enormous challenges in a way that summons, what he called the “soul of Chicago.”

“What will that story say? That Chicago with its sturdy shoulders and its diverse economy and the legacy of all of our generosity was too afraid to stand up? Is that what our story will say?” Johnson said, as a smattering of “Nos” could be heard from the crowd at Credit Union 1 Arena.

“We get to tell a different story. I’m talking about a story that binds us together. We don’t want our story to be told that we were unable to house the unhoused or provide safe harbor for those who are seeking safe refuge here because there’s enough room for everyone in the city of Chicago — whether you are seeking asylum or looking for a fully-funded neighborhood,” Johnson said.

The inauguration started with the introduction of the newly-elected City Council, which includes 16 fresh faces; a record 14 Latinos; 18 women, matching a previous all-time high; and nine members who identify as LGBTQ. The average age is 47. That’s nearly four years younger than the average age of the old Council.

While today was about celebration, tomorrow will be about Mayor Johnson getting to work on addressing the city’s two most pressing issues: housing the influx of migrants being sent to Chicago from Texas and unveiling a plan to protect Chicagoans over Memorial Day weekend, a time traditionally plagued by violence.

Our Fran Spielman recaps today’s inauguration and previews what the new mayor’s first day in office might look like.

More news you need

City Council turns 100


Ald. John “Bathhouse John” Coughlin (left) in about 1933; Ald. Michael “Hinky Dink” Kenna (front right) In 1903.

Chicago Sun-Times Archives

A century of incremental progress, colorful characters — and rampant corruption. 

As the next Chicago City Council was sworn in today, the city entered its 100th year under the 50-ward system with a legislative body representing many more backgrounds and perspectives than it did in 1923 but one that has proven just as prone in recent years to illegal backroom deals.

Thirty-seven of its members have been convicted of crimes since 1973, including former Bridgeport Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson last year — and that’s only the latter half of the modern Council era. 

Widespread graft at the turn of the 20th century was a major target of the civic-minded reformers who pushed for the 50-ward system. The Municipal Voters League hoped it “would give independent citizens acting in groups a rare opportunity to clean house,” scholars Peter Colby and Paul Michael Green wrote in a 1979 study on “The Consolidation of Clout” in Chicago. 

The city had expanded representation repeatedly after incorporating in 1837, starting with six wards, doubling to 12 and nearly tripling to 35 in the late 1800s, with two aldermen from each ward. 

Downsizing from 70 aldermen to 50 “really didn’t put a dent in corruption,” says Dick Simpson, an alderman in the 1970s and longtime UIC political science professor who wrote the book on “Rogues, Rebels, And Rubber Stamps: The Politics of the Chicago City Council.” Our Mitchell Armentrout takes a deep dive into the Council’s past.

And take a moment to get to know the new City Council, a younger and more diverse bunch that includes 16 fresh faces since 2019 and nearly doubles the number of members in their 30s compared to four years ago — driving down the average age in the chamber by almost four years to 47. We’ve got an interactive to help you find your alderperson and some basics about them.

A bright one ✨

Six women, all over 100 years old, celebrate Mother’s Day at South Loop fashion show brunch

Even at 102 years old, Eva Mae Holland still has her fashion sense.

“She’s still wearing 3-inch heels and her hat every Sunday in church,” said granddaughter LeDonna Barnes. “She’s always fashionably dressed.”

Holland was one of six mothers — all over 100 years old — who arrived by stretch limo dressed in their Sunday Best for a fashion show brunch at a Marriott hotel in the South Loop. They were celebrated as part of Andrew Holmes’ Foundation’s Club 100, whose members are all centenarians.


Mary Lee Stiger, 102, arrives for the Barbara Bates Brunch Fashion Show at the Marriott Marquis yesterday.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Mary Lee Stiger, 102, arrived in a bright white and green floral blouse and was joined by three generations of her family.

Stiger is a relatively new Chicagoan, having moved here 13 years ago from Kentucky to be closer to family.

“We couldn’t have Mother’s Day without honoring these types of mothers,” said fashion designer Barbara Bates, who greeted each of them with ceremonial sashes inscribed with their ages.

More on how these mothers were celebrated from our David Struett.

From the press box 🏀🏈⚾️

Your daily question☕

What’s an issue in your ward that you hope Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration addresses? Tell us why.

Email us (please include your first and last name) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

On Friday, we asked you: What’s a valuable lesson your mother taught you?

Here’s some of what you said...

“Work hard and save money for a rainy day.” — Don Schiller

“Do what you say, and say what you do.” — Paul Teodo

“Be a good husband first and a good father will follow.” — Dan Brennan 

“My older sister and I were helping mother in the kitchen from an early age. We learned that as long as you had milk, eggs, bread, flour and sugar, we would not go hungry.” — Irene L.

“The most valuable lesson my mom taught me is to always take a sweater or jacket with you, because Chicago’s weather changes often, she would say, ‘You can always take it off, but you can’t put it on if you don’t have it with you.’ It’s worked for me many times.” — Chrystal Jenkins

“Two valuable lessons: how to make a basic white sauce — 1 tablespoon flour, 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, 1 cup of liquid — and how to love a difficult preteen who challenges her mother without knowing why. I am very glad she lived long enough for us to get over my adolescent grumpiness.” — Virginia G.

“That you can always say, ‘I am not available — I have other plans,’ even when someone is urgently asking you to babysit. If you need a break and your ‘plans’ are hanging out reading a book by yourself or watching a movie, that’s legitimate. Your time is just as important as their time! Helped me value myself, and perhaps is even more applicable now that I am a busy working parent.” — Katie Brick

“At 7, she taught me how to mix a dry martini, and added this bit of knowledge I have never forgotten: ‘How is a martini like a woman’s breasts? One’s not enough and three is too many.’ Still just as true more than 50 years later.” — Aidan G.  

Thanks for reading the Chicago Sun-Times Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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