Chirlane McCray

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Chirlane McCray
Chirlane McCray.JPG
McCray at a rally to protest the closure of
Long Island College Hospital
Born1954 (age 59–60)
NationalityAmerican
Alma materWellesley College
OccupationWriter, public affairs
Spouse(s)Bill de Blasio (m. 1994)
Children2
 
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Chirlane McCray
Chirlane McCray.JPG
McCray at a rally to protest the closure of
Long Island College Hospital
Born1954 (age 59–60)
NationalityAmerican
Alma materWellesley College
OccupationWriter, public affairs
Spouse(s)Bill de Blasio (m. 1994)
Children2

Chirlane I. McCray (born 1954)[1] is a writer, poet, editor, communications professional, and political figure. She has published poetry and worked in politics as a speechwriter. Married to current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, she is the First Lady of New York City. They have two children, Chiara and Dante. They plan to move from their home in Park Slope, Brooklyn, into Gracie Mansion,[2] the traditional residence of New York City mayors.

Early life[edit]

McCray was born in and spent her early years in Springfield, Massachusetts. Her mother was an assembly worker at an electronics factory, and her father was an inventory clerk at a military base. She is of Bajan and St. Lucian descent, but traces her grandmother's last name to Ghana.[3]

When she was ten years old, her family moved to Longmeadow, Massachusetts, becoming only the second black family in the area. Other families in the neighborhood circulated petitions demanding they leave.[4][5]

In high school, McCray was for a time the only black student in her entire school.[6] McCray cites this early experience with racism and bullying as part of the reason she began to write, using her poetry as an outlet for her anger.[4][5][6] She also wrote a column for her school newspaper, in which she denounced classmates for their racism.[6]

Career[edit]

McCray enrolled at Wellesley College in 1972. While studying at Wellesley, McCray became a member of the Combahee River Collective,[7] a black feminist lesbian organization, which inspired her to write prose and poetry.[8]

After graduation, she moved to New York City to work for Redbook. She published an essay in Essence Magazine in 1979, entitled "I Am a Lesbian",[1][4] an essay described as "groundbreaking" for how a black woman discussed her sexuality in a black magazine.[5] The purpose of the essay was to "dispel the myth that there are no gay black people".[9] Some of her poetry is included in Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology.[10]

In 1991, McCray entered politics. She worked as a speechwriter for the mayor, David Dinkins.[11] During the Clinton administration, she worked for the New York Foreign Press Center as a public affairs specialist.[12] She also worked as a speech writer for the state comptroller, Carl McCall, and the city comptroller, Bill Thompson.[13]

McCray with spouse, Bill de Blasio, and their two children.

In 2004, she left Thompson's office to work in the private sector.[14] She worked for five years at Maimonides Medical Center.[15] She also worked for Citigroup in their public relations department for six months, before deciding it was "not a good fit".[6] During her husband's campaign for mayor of New York City in the 2013 election, she edited his speeches and helped interview candidates for staff positions.[6]

Personal life[edit]

McCray met Bill de Blasio in 1991, when they both worked at New York City Hall for Mayor David Dinkins.[4][11] At the time, de Blasio was an aide to a deputy mayor and McCray was a speechwriter. McCray and de Blasio were married in 1994 in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.[4][16] Asked about her sexuality, McCray has stated that she hates "labels".[17] In 2012, when asked about her 1979 essay, she commented: "In the 1970s, I identified as a lesbian and wrote about it. In 1991, I met the love of my life, married him."[18]

McCray and de Blasio have a daughter and a son and live in Park Slope, Brooklyn.[4][11] They plan to move into Gracie Mansion.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Laurence, Charles (August 5, 2013). "Political sapphotage: New York mayoral race just gets weirder". The Week. Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "De Blasio Holds Open House at Gracie Mansion, His New Home". New York Times. January 5, 2013. Retrieved January 23, 2013. 
  3. ^ http://amsterdamnews.com/news/2012/mar/29/my-familys-journey-to-ghana/
  4. ^ a b c d e f Marantz, Andrew (August 5, 2013). "Andrew Marantz: Chirlane McCray, Prospective First Lady of New York City". The New Yorker. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c Villarosa, Linda (May 9, 2013). "Chirlane McCray: From Gay Trailblazer to Politician's Wife". Essence.com. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Barbaro, Michael (October 1, 2013). "Once Alienated, and Now a Force in Her Husband’s Bid for Mayor: Chirlane McCray Plays Key Role in de Blasio Campaign". The New York Times. Retrieved October 23, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Significant Other". New Yorker. August 5, 2013. Retrieved November 21, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Chirlane McCray Campaign Bio". New Yorkers for de Blasio. 
  9. ^ Mcdonough, Katie (May 9, 2013). "Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, on the "fluidity of love" and the political spotlight". Salon.com. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Blog Archive » Pioneering Black Feminist Makes History Again". Black On Campus. October 18, 2009. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c Barbaro, Michael (January 1, 2010). "The Family Bible Is a Guest for the Oath, but Not a Participant". The New York Times. Retrieved August 16, 2013. 
  12. ^ The Plum Book: U. S. Government Policy and Supporting Positions for 9,000 Federal Civil Service Positions. DIANE Publishing. 1996. p. 236. ISBN 0788135708. 
  13. ^ "Bill de Blasio's wife, Chirlane McCray, opens up on her role as the mayoral race's most visible spouse". NY Daily News. May 21, 2013. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  14. ^ Seifman, David (August 8, 2004). "Ferrer's Pitch For Ballpark". New York Post. Retrieved August 14, 2013.  (subscription required)
  15. ^ "About Chirlane". BilldeBlasio.com. Retrieved August 16, 2013. 
  16. ^ Saul, Michael Howard (January 1, 2013). "Family in the Spotlight: De Blasio's Wife, Children Provide Multiracial Backdrop to Likely Mayoral Bid". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  17. ^ O'Neill, Natalie (May 10, 2013). "Bill de Blasio’s wife recalls him first learning that she was a lesbian". NYPOST.com. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  18. ^ When Bill de Blasio's Wife Was a Lesbian, out.com, September 3, 2013

External links[edit]

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Donna Hanover (2002)
First Lady of New York City
2014–present
Incumbent