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Juliana Stratton

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During black history month, light is shed  on many people who show and prove that black lives matter.

Juliana Stratton is one such person, she became the first African-American to serve as Illinois’ lieutenant governor. She is also the fourth African-American woman in U.S. history to hold a lieutenant governorship.

A lawyer and politician she 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 began 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, she has been known 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 advocates for the creation of safe spaces for the youth, and is also a restorative justice practitioner and trained peace circle keeper whose aim is to improve public safety and building stronger communities.

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.

On her words during her inauguration ceremony after she took the oath of office she remembered how her great-great-grandfather, William Stevens, rose out of slavery.

“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.”

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