The MET in Philadelphia was filled to capacity for the inauguration ceremony of the city’s new mayor, Cherelle L. Parker. She is the first female mayor elected in the city.

PHILADELPHIA—The City of Brotherly Love achieved a historic moment as Cherelle L. Parker became the city’s first female mayor. Succeeding former Mayor Jim Kenney, her inauguration symbolizes a significant milestone in Philadelphia’s history, sparking hope for a more progressive future.

With this groundbreaking election, Philadelphia joins the ranks of other prominent U.S. cities that have chosen women as mayors. Mayor Parker’s swearing-in ceremony took place at the MET theater, the famed music house located in North Philadelphia. She took the oath of office surrounded by family and friends on Jan. 2.

Sheryl Lee Ralph, the acclaimed actress and playwright from the hit TV series Abbott Elementary, introduced the mayor in a captivating manner. Her poetic introduction touched on themes of hope, unity, and resilience, emphasizing the need for collaboration to overcome obstacles and build a brighter future for Philadelphia.

In her remarks, Ms. Ralph also acknowledged the historical significance of the moment, as Cherelle Parker became the first Black woman to serve as mayor in the city.


Mayor Parker captivated an audience of over 3,000 with a spirited and dynamic hour-long speech, intertwining her personal and political journey. She acknowledged the influential women who paved the way in government and expressed gratitude to the city for unwavering support in her vision for the future as she laid out a clear vision for her term in office, focusing on collaboration, unity, and addressing the community’s needs.

Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph delivers remarks introducing Philadelphia’s new mayor, Cherelle L. Parker at the Jan. 2 inauguration at the MET.

“I’m not talking about incremental change. I’m talking about bold, transformative steps that when people walk outside their houses, they can see, touch, and feel the results of our labor,” she said.

Mayor Parker expressed her sincere appreciation for the citizens of Philadelphia, from all backgrounds, who embraced her message of inclusivity. She emphasized her commitment to equality stating that race, class, socioeconomic status, zip code, religion, and sexual orientation would never alter her principles or who she is as a person.

As the 100th mayor of Philadelphia, the birthplace of democracy, she acknowledged that her success was only possible because of the support and contribution of everyone in the city.

“I want to stop now and thank Philadelphians for giving me a chance to earn their support and for believing in me and my vision for the future of our city. I only get the opportunity to meet this moment because of every one of you, and for that, I’m incredibly grateful,” she said.

“There will no longer be a tale of two cities in Philadelphia,” Mayor Parker said. “We will close the gap between the haves and the have-nots. We are going to put people on a path to self-sufficiency.”

Each seat at the inauguration held a copy of the mayor’s 100-Day Action Plan, highlighting the urgent priorities for Philadelphia. Mayor Parker underscored the significance of public safety, government transparency, and economic opportunities for all residents. The new mayor’s agenda includes making local government more visible, responsive, and efficient in delivering services to the community.

Additionally, she intends to enhance economic opportunities for Philadelphians by eliminating barriers to city employment. Her 100-Day Action Plan includes:

1. Public Safety: Mayor Parker declared a public safety emergency in Philadelphia. In response, the police commissioner and managing director’s office will develop comprehensive plans to address public safety throughout the city.

Philadelphia’s new mayor, Cherelle L. Parker with newly elected city councilman Kenyatta Johnson.

2. Clean and Green: Mayor Parker’s goal is to make Philadelphia the cleanest and most environmentally friendly big city in the nation. This will involve increasing the number of trash cans, expanding recycling programs, and planting more trees.

3. Housing: Mayor Parker is committed to creating more affordable housing options for the people of Philadelphia. This includes increasing the city’s investment in affordable housing and collaborating with developers to create more affordable units.

4. Economic Opportunity: Mayor Parker is dedicated to expanding economic opportunities for Philadelphia residents. This will involve removing barriers to city employment, such as eliminating the requirement for a college degree as a prerequisite for employment.

5. Education: Mayor Parker’s plan includes increasing funding for public schools and improving access to early childhood education.

6. Roundtables: Mayor Parker will conduct roundtable discussions with business, faith-based, and intergovernmental leaders. These discussions will focus on addressing the city’s issues and developing practical solutions.

Mayor Cherelle Parker’s plans for Philadelphia hinges on intergovernmental cooperation and planning. In her inauguration speech, she stressed the importance of working together across various government levels to address the city’s challenges. The intergovernmental roundtable, outlined in her 100-day plan, will foster this collaboration.

Mayor Parker noted that by all metrics that she had no chance of becoming mayor, sharing reflections about her humble beginnings. “By every statistic imaginable, I’m not supposed to stand here today. Why? Because it is true,” she said. Mayor Parker recounted growing up in a low-income household and witnessing her mother struggle to make ends meet while working multiple jobs.

She mentioned that she was raised by her grandparents, who were on welfare. Mayor Parker stated her experiences instilled in her a strong sense of empathy and commitment to public service, which has driven her political career.

In her passionate speech, she acknowledged the influential mentors in her life, such as Dr. Connie Clayton, a respected former school superintendent, and the trailblazing woman who paved the way before her and became her personal role model, former councilwoman Marian Tasco.

Philadelphia, the poorest big city in America, continues to grapple with the aftermath of the global pandemic and its worst gun violence crisis in history. Amidst these challenges, a prevailing concern among most residents is the issue of crime.

Imam Malik Shabazz told The Final Call, “One of her main challenges will be ensuring the safety of our community. Given her strong qualifications and connections with state and federal entities, I am confident she will effectively address these safety concerns.”

Stanley Crawford, from the Black Male Community Council of Philadelphia, a violence prevention program, expressed his enthusiasm for the inauguration of Mayor Parker.

“This is a celebration of the inauguration of our new mayor, Cherelle Parker. We believe she will be a transformative leader for Philadelphia, particularly for the Black and Brown communities. Her top priority will be addressing the alarming levels of violence in our city. Equally important, she is committed to tackling the opioid crisis and providing a fresh start for those who are trapped in its grip,” he said.

Dr. Bernard Anderson, the pioneering tenured Black professor at the Wharton School, shared with The Final Call his excitement about attending the inauguration. “This is significant news highlighting the mayor’s potential to excel in her role. With a distinguished background in the state legislature and city council, she brings valuable experience and an important agenda to her new position. However, her greatest challenge lies in unifying a currently deeply divided city,” he said.

In concluding her speech, Mayor Parker proclaimed her unwavering dedication to restoring lawfulness and order to the city. “With the community as our ally, we can make it happen. These vital partnerships are built from the grassroots level. Every Philadelphia resident, regardless of location, deserves a superior quality of life in their own neighborhoods,” she said.

January 16, 2024

Philadelphia’s first female mayor takes office