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New York City Mayor Eric Adams appoints first Black woman to serve as first deputy mayor

<i>Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images</i><br/>Mayor Eric Adams poses with five women who were appointed as his deputies last year. From L-R Lorraine Grillo
Pacific Press/LightRocket via Ge
Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
Mayor Eric Adams poses with five women who were appointed as his deputies last year. From L-R Lorraine Grillo

By Celina Tebor, CNN

New York City Mayor Eric Adams appointed the first Black woman to serve as the city’s First Deputy Mayor on Tuesday, rounding off a year of high-profile appointments of women, including women of color.

Beginning in January, Sheena Wright will step in as the first deputy mayor of New York. Outgoing First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo announced her departure in November.

Wright currently serves as New York’s Deputy Mayor of Strategic Initiatives and was the former president of the United Way of New York City.

“In addition to the professional path I have traveled, I bring my personal experience as well,” Wright said at a press conference Tuesday. “My experience of being a mother, a person of faith, someone who knows what it means to have family members struggling with severe mental illness — who knows personally about many of the other challenges facing many New Yorkers.”

Adams has made several historic appointments during his tenure as mayor: when he came into office in January 2022, he appointed five female deputy mayors — including Wright.

Two notable appointments include Laura Kavanagh, who became the first female commissioner of the Fire Department of New York in October of this year, and Keechant Sewell, who is the New York Police Department’s first female police commissioner.

During Tuesday’s announcement, Adams also appointed Camille Joseph Varlack, another Black woman, to serve as his chief of staff. Varlack is currently the special adviser to the mayor and will replace outgoing chief of staff Frank Carone.

“They are combined with the deep dedication to equity, justice and improving the lives of New Yorkers,” Adams said. “Together, Camille and Sheena and our team have what it takes to serve the city that we love and we believe in.”

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