CFD's 1st Black female commissioner, Annette Nance-Holt, approved by Chicago City Council

ByABC 7 Chicago Digital Team via WLS logo
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
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Mayor Lori Lightfoot has nominated Annette Nance-Holt to serve as the first Black woman to run the Chicago Fire Department.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago Fire Department's first female Black commissioner was approved by City Council Wednesday morning.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot nominated Annette Nance-Holt to serve in the position.

The Council approved her about 11:40 a.m.

Lightfoot nominated Nance-Holt last month at a graduation ceremony for the latest class of the Chicago Fire Department paramedics.

She has been a trailblazer with the Chicago Fire Department during her three-decade career.

SEE MORE: Annette Nance-Holt nominated to be CFD's first Black female commissioner

"At a time when we still have work to do in order to eradicate the scourge of discrimination, racism, and sexism from the firefighter and other professions, Commissioner Nance's appointment couldn't come at a better time," Lightfoot said.

It would be yet another barrier-busting achievement for Nance-Holt, who has overcome personal tragedy to reach the top spot in the Chicago Fire Department.

"It is my honor to stand here before you today, and know that you are my very first class that I would swear in. Thank you Mayor Lightfoot for this opportunity to serve the citizens of Chicago," Nance-Holt said.

WATCH | Annette Nance-Holt poised to make history as 1st Black woman to lead CFD

In 2018, Nance-Holt became the first Black female deputy commissioner. But her 30-year career - in a department trained to deal with tragedies - also brought heartbreak to her own door in 2007 when her son Blair was shot and killed on a CTA bus outside his school.

In response, she co-founded a support group called Purpose Over Pain with Pam Bosley, who lost her son, Terrell, to gun violence the year before. The two women became dear friends.

Nance-Holt came on board the department four years after the first women joined the ranks. Her nomination is new inspiration to new recruits and seasoned veterans alike.

Nance-Holt will take over a department with a history of racism and sexism. Last month, she welcomed 42 new members to the department, including 13 women and 15 minorities.

"Graduates, look to Commissioner Nance-Holt's exemplary example of sacrifice and service, even in the face of her own personal pain and tragedy," Lightfoot said. "She is the real deal."

The video in the player above is from an earlier report.