Meet Juliana Stratton, Illinois first black lieutenant governor

Theodora Aidoo February 10, 2020
Juliana Stratton, Illinois first black lieutenant governor - Pic Credit:

This black history month, Face2face Africa is shedding light on many people who continue to show and prove that black lives matter.

One such person is Juliana Stratton who became the first African-American to serve as Illinois’ lieutenant governor.

Stratton is also the fourth African-American woman in U.S. history to hold a lieutenant governorship.

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Since 2019, the lawyer and politician has been serving as the 48th lieutenant governor of Illinois leading the Justice, Equity and Opportunity Initiative, and chairing the Illinois Council on Women and Girls, the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, the Military Economic Development Council and the Illinois River Coordinating Council.

She started her own consulting firm which focuses on alternative dispute resolution and served as a mediator, arbitrator and administrative law judge for several government agencies.

Born September 8, 1965, in Chicago, Illinois, Stratton had been a state representative for two years in Springfield with notable works such as sponsoring 38 bills, eight of which she managed to sign into law, including legislation on prison and criminal justice reform.

Lieutenant Governor Stratton previously served as Director of the Center for Public Safety and Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She was Executive Director of the Cook County Justice Advisory Council, and a Deputy Hearing Commissioner for the City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection.

Stratton is also a restorative justice practitioner and trained peace circle keeper whose aim is to improve public safety and building stronger communities. She advocates for the creation of safe spaces for the youth.

She was also a founding board member of the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center and served on the Board of Directors of the Juvenile Protective Association.

Image result for Juliana Stratton
Pic Credit: Chicago Crusader

Her words during her inauguration ceremony after she took the oath of office reminisced on how her great-great-grandfather, William Stevens, rose out of slavery. She said she wondered what life was truly like for him.

“On Dec. 3, 1818, Illinois became the 21st state. Two hundred years later, with the DNA of my formerly enslaved great-great-grandfather William Stevens as part of my genetic makeup, I am proud to stand before you as our state’s first black lieutenant governor,” Stratton said.

“These brothers, formerly enslaved, were industrious, and continued to build this community,” Stratton said.

“They farmed the land, growing cotton, vegetables, and fruit, and tended to livestock and poultry. They helped create every institution their tenants needed to live full lives: a church, a school, a general store, a post office.”

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: February 10, 2020


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