If you grew up as a Black person in the United States, at some point in your life you've probably experienced someone making racist comments or you have seen some form of systemic racist behavior.

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Although Most people don’t know that Mayor Sheehan adopted a black child many years ago.  She recently spoke about some of the racism that she witnessed with her adopted son.

Mayor Sheehan grew up in an all-white suburban neighborhood outside of Chicago Illinois.  Her grade school Catholic education did not include Black people.  She grew up in a privileged environment which included private swimming pools in suburban developments.  Although her family moved several times as she was growing up, none of her neighborhoods included Black people until she was in the seventh grade.

When she was in the seventh grade, a Black family moved next door.  Even though Sheehan’s family welcomed them, not everyone in the neighborhood was pleased.  Some of her neighbors expressed racist attitudes toward the family and one white family even moved away.

Kathy Sheehan recently spoke about her past.  She said, “I grew up naïvely thinking I was part of a post-feminist, post-racial environment because it was unquestioned in my family that all people of all races were equal and women could do whatever they wanted.”

Mayor Sheehan and her husband adopted a Black infant in 2000 and in 2019 they moved to Arbor Hill.  As she was raising her Black son, she was forced to see the world in a different way.  She recalled an incident where her son came home from preschool and said that a white child told him that it was bad to be Black.

She says she can only begin to feel some of the trauma and anger of a toxic racial environment.  She said, “We are seeing the consequences of centuries of racial oppression.  We can no longer deny systemic racism.  We have to call it out every time we see it.”

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