New York City Appoints First Black Woman as First Deputy Mayor

by Xara Aziz
Voiced by Amazon Polly

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has appointed the first Black woman to serve as First Deputy Mayor in New York.

Sheena Wright will take on the post in January and will replace First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo who resigned from the role in November. Wright’s appointment marks a continuous streak of women – specifically women of color – being selected for senior-level appointments within the executive office.

Prior to her new role, Wright was 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.”

Wright will be one of five female deputy mayors appointed to the city since Mayor Adams’ tenure in January 2022. The appointments include Laura Kavanagh, the city’s first female commissioner of the Fire Department and Keechant Sewell, New York Police Department’s first female police commissioner.

Adams has also appointed Camille Joseph Varlack, a Black woman, to serve as his chief of staff. Varlack is currently a special adviser to the mayor and will replace 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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