Chicago launches economic recovery task force

Chicago launches economic recovery task force

Chicago has launched a new task force to help guide economic recovery planning efforts in the wake of the new coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Thursday.

The task force will be co-chaired by Lightfoot and former White House Chief of Staff Sam Skinner.

“While the city continues to prioritize its public health response in order to keep our residents safe and healthy from this disease, we are also looking ahead to the next phase of this challenge to develop ways Chicago can emerge from the unprecedented event stronger than before,” Lightfoot said.

The task force includes five working groups, which will offer policy recommendations and plans to the Lightfoot administration. Each will include members from the healthcare industry, community-based organizations, organized labor, academia and government.

A group focused on mental and emotional health will be co-chaired by Heartland Alliance President Evelyn Diaz, Urban League of Chicago President and CEO Karen Freeman-Wilson and National Alliance on Mental Illness Chicago Executive Director Alexa James.

During such a traumatic time, it is vital for communities to address the grief caused by the pandemic, James said during Thursday’s press conference. With the stress caused by the large loss of life and isolation, she said it is key the task force crafts a response to help the community cope in the months ahead.

“We will need to recognize the trauma the city has faced,” James said. “We know that when a traumatic event occurs, it’s the response that’s weeks and months after that’s just as important as the days following the trauma. This task force is an opportunity to plan our response to the long-term impact this crisis will have on the emotional health of our community.”


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