Skip To Content
Fast Forward

Meet Amy Eshleman, Wife Of Chicago’s New Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Lori Lightfoot and Amy Eshleman in Chicago

From left, Lori Lightfoot, daughter Vivian and wife Amy Eshleman, celebrating Lightfoot’s mayoral win in Chicago on April 2. Image by Getty

In April Chicago elected a new mayor: Lori Lightfoot, the first black woman to lead the third-largest city in the country. In several appearances, most notably at her victory party and her recent swearing-in, she was joined by her wife, Amy Eshleman.

So who is Amy?

Eshleman and Lightfoot have been together for 16 years, according to the Chicago Tribune. They got married on June 1, 2014 — the day same-sex marriages became legal in Illinois.

“You want certain things for yourself, and falling in love and having a family and doing all those things felt really important to us,” Eshleman told the Tribune. “To be able to be married on that day felt really big.”

The two have a daughter, Vivian, a teenager.

Eshleman worked for nearly two decades as the assistant commissioner of the Chicago Public Library, the fifth largest public library in the country by collection size. While there, she helped create YOUmedia, a digital center for teenagers that also does outreach and engagement. Currently, 12 CPL locations have a YOUmedia center. Eshleman’s former boss at the CPL, Mary A. Dempsey, gave Lightfoot’s mayoral campaign $64,776, the Tribune reported. Eshleman left the CPL in 2012, and currently works as an education consultant, according to her LinkedIn page.

In high school, Eshleman was an avid basketball and tennis player, and was a member of the first women’s team to win a statewide high school basketball championship, in 1977.

Lightfoot and wife kissing at Chicago mayor victory party

Lightfoot and Eshleman embarrass their daughter in front of the entire city of Chicago at Lightfoot’s victory party in April. Image by Getty

Ari Feldman is a staff writer at the Forward. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @aefeldman

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.