Annette Nance-Holt Becomes First Black Woman to Lead Chicago’s Fire Department

Annette Nance-Holt will become the first woman of color to lead the Chicago Fire Department in the department’s 162-history.

The Chicago City Council on Wednesday voted to approve the selection of Nance-Holt, a more than 30-year veteran of the CFD and currently serving as acting commissioner of the department, as Chicago Fire Department commissioner.

“It’s official,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted after the council’s vote. “Annette Nance-Holt has made Chicago history by becoming the first Black woman to serve as Chicago Fire Department commissioner.”

Prior to her role as acting commissioner, Nance-Holt was named the First Deputy Commissioner in 2018, the first woman to hold that No. 2 role in Chicago. She also served as Deputy District Chief, Battalion Chief-EMT, Captain-EMT, Lieutenant-EMT and as a firefighter.

“Commissioner Holt has more than three decades of proven leadership and a passion for public service that makes her the perfect fit for this role,” Lightfoot said in a statement in May, when she announced Nance-Holt’s selection. “Furthermore, in a time where more work remains in order to eliminate discrimination, racism and sexism from the firefighter profession, Commissioner Holt’s history-making appointment as the first woman and Black woman to lead as Fire Commissioner couldn’t have come at a better moment.”

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