Milwaukee celebrated a significant milestone on April 16, as City Hall hosted its first traditional Inauguration Day since 2016.

The swearing-in event featured the city’s most diverse Common Council in history, a landmark moment reflecting the evolving demographics and aspirations of Milwaukee’s residents.

This year’s inauguration was unusually special as it was the first full-scale, in-person event since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, outside of a series of special elections. Alongside the Common Council, the Milwaukee City Comptroller, City Treasurer, and City Attorney also took their oaths, reinforcing the city’s commitment to a fresh start in governance.

The new Common Council stands out not only for its diversity but also for the significant breakthroughs in representation it embodies. Of the 15 members representing the city’s districts, eight are African-American and six are women—the highest number of women in the council’s history. Additionally, the council boasts the most LGBTQ members ever, serving two of the districts, further highlighting the inclusivity of the city’s political landscape.

Among the notable figures sworn in was Sharlen Moore, the newly elected Alderwoman from the 10th District, who made history as the first-ever Black woman to hold her position. Moore expressed the significance of her election, saying, “Representation matters. We’re now really representing Milwaukee and the folks that live here,” she stated, emphasizing the council’s role in mirroring the city’s diverse population.”

Alderwoman Moore outlined her immediate priorities, which include fostering a collaborative environment within her district. She plans to establish a District 10 leadership council that will engage residents in meaningful dialogue about their community’s strengths and challenges, regardless of their affiliation with neighborhood groups.

“I’m here to serve the residents of the great city of Milwaukee,” Moore said. “We have a lot of work to do to collectively join forces together and make our city a great city for every single resident that lives here.”

Alderman Burgelis felt it was a great achievement that the election results reflected the city’s diversity.

“Our Common Council better reflects the people in our city, more now than ever. More women, more people of color, and I’m proud to be the second out member of the Common Council,” said Alderman Burgelis. “We will now have a Queer Caucus in Milwaukee.”

Re-elected Common Council President José Pérez discussed the impact of having council members who reflect the community’s diverse experiences and backgrounds.

“When they start seeing more representatives that look like them, that have gone through some of the same trials and tribulations in this city, we can get them better engaged in our civil process,” said President Pérez.

He encouraged minorities aspiring to public office, emphasizing that dedication and hard work are key to overcoming barriers.

The swearing-in marked a new legislative session for 2024 to 2028. It also symbolized Milwaukee’s broader aspirations for an inclusive and responsive governance structure. As Common Council members began their terms, they carried the hopes of a city eager to see its diverse voices heard and integrated into the fabric of its decision-making processes.