Bass first woman Mayor of Los Angeles
December 22, 2022
By: Ethan Dumper
KidScoop Media Correspondent, Age 13
In its 241 year history, Los Angeles has never had a female mayor. That changed on Sunday, December 11th when Vice-President Kamala Harris swore in Karen Bass as mayor of Los Angeles. The event was originally scheduled to be outside at the steps of City Hall like almost every other swearing-in, but due to the possibility of rain, the ceremony was moved inside to Microsoft Theater at LA Live, with the steps of city hall projected on the screen behind the proceedings. Due to the short notice of venue change, the process to enter was chaotic and confusing. Pressed shoulder to shoulder, the mass of journalists and event attendees swayed back and forth as they all attempted to enter through a few unmarked doors at the front of the crowd. Once inside, the event was smoother, even though it started half an hour late.
The event featured a number of speeches, prayers, poems, and performances. It began with different religious leaders wishing Karen Bass good health and decision making as mayor. "We also pray and ask you for safety over our new mayor-elect, Karen Bass. We ask for physical safety, mental safety, emotional safety, and spiritual safety," prayed Rene Molina. The blessings were followed by a musical performance by Mary Mary and a speech by the Director of the UCLA Labor Center, Kent Wang. "I have been blessed to have known Karen for more than 30 years. Karen is my friend, she is my sister, and I guarantee you that she is a woman of integrity, of compassion, and of vision. She is the right leader at this historic moment in Los Angeles," Wang said of Bass taking the helm as mayor. After Wang's speech, the City Council members were sworn in, pledging their support of the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of California, and the Charter of the City of Los Angeles.
After the City Council was sworn in, Sophie Szew shared a poem, the City Controller and City Attorney were sworn in, and the Chamber choir of Hamilton high school sang. Toni Atkins, the pro Tempore of the California State Senate, spoke next praising Karen Bass for her leadership and mentorship of Atkins after Bass left to work in DC. "She blazed a trail that I was able to humbly follow six years later, and although Karen moved on to Washington DC, by the time I was chosen to serve as speaker, she graciously came back to give me the same oath she had taken." Atkins went on to talk about Bass as a true leader, not someone who was there for "credit or photo-ops," but "here to work."
The event continued with another poem, this time by the 2017 Nation's Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman. "It starts, with a new dawn, drawn into the open, by women whose silence is broken. It starts with acting on our responsibility to bring visibility to the most vulnerable," her poem read. Finally, right before Karen Bass was sworn in, Stevie Wonder performed, something that was quite amazing and unexpected, and was appropriate to mark the history that was about to unfold.
At last, Karen Bass walked to the side of the stage with Kamala Harris next to her, and recited her oath. When she finished, Vice-President Harris shook her hand and said "Madam Mayor" acknowledging that she is the first female mayor of Los Angeles.
"This is what history feels like. This is like writing a chapter, and today we were witnesses," said now Former-Mayor Garcetti said of having the first female Vice-President swear in the first female mayor of Los Angeles. "It's been a long time coming... In the elect-women for change, 1992, we finally got our two women senators, but this is like the whole trifecta, we just keep going and it's getting better and better," said Public Affairs and Community Engagement Representative for the California School Boards Association, Sarah Bradshaw. This is also the first time in history that all three-city wide elected officials, City Controller, City Attorney, and Mayor, are all new to office with two of them being women. "We witnessed history over and over and over again, from the first woman who was both the speaker of the assembly and pro temp, Toni Atkins, to our mayor, to our first woman lieutenant governor, our first woman vice-president, to our first all-female county board of Supervisors, it was an amazing experience of women being in power and making history," county supervisor Holly Mitchell said.
Looking to the future, Karen Bass said she will declare a state of emergency regarding the homelessness crisis on her first day in office, which she did, and she also told Governor Newsom and Vice-President Harris to, "look for me-I'll be on your caller ID." When asked how he would support Mayor Bass in her new role, governor Newsom said that "I don't think there's anything we can do at the scale it's needed on housing and homelessness unless the state is fully committed in supporting the mayor... It's critical we have a strong partnership, that's the most important thing." Mayor Garcetti also said that he would support Mayor Bass in any way she needed, whenever she called, checking in on her mental health, and helping her "in ways only another mayor can." State Senator Durazo said that she was glad that we have someone who "knows what it's like to be in a working family. She knows what it takes to sacrifice. I love that about her, and she's going to bring that experience to being mayor... She knows what it's like to work, to raise a family, to pay rent, and all those things that regular people have to go through every day, she's been through it."
Karen Bass made history on Sunday by becoming the first woman to serve as mayor in the city of Los Angeles. It was described as historic, a chance for us to come together, and an amazing experience of women rising in power.