Chirlane McCray

First Lady of New York City

When First Lady Chirlane McCray talks about the importance of opening doors of opportunity to people living on the margins of society, she speaks from experience.

Ms. McCray was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. When she was ten years old, her family moved to nearby Longmeadow, which was known for its strong schools. She was always the only African American student in her class, sometimes the only one in the entire school. Those years were tough, but her parents knew the education available in Longmeadow would ultimately provide Ms. McCray with the tools she needed to thrive.

Ms. McCray moved to New York City in 1977, and began her career in magazine publishing with a position at Redbook magazine. More than a decade later, wanting her career to match her personal commitment to social justice, Ms. McCray began work with the NYC Commission for Human Rights. Her work at the Commission led to a position as a speech writer for Mayor David Dinkins, where she first met her now husband, Bill de Blasio.

Ms. McCray has also worked at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, where she coordinated paid media and worked as a speech writer for State Comptroller Carl McCall and City Comptroller Bill Thompson.

Today, as First Lady of New York City, she is committed to helping those who need help most. She has played a central role in the Administration’s successful efforts to establish universal pre-kindergarten and after school programs for all middle school students. She is also proud to serve as Chair of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. The goal of the Fund is to make sure all New Yorkers have access to the programs and resources they need to achieve their full potential.

Ms. McCray loves reading, quilting, and sitting around the dinner table with Bill and their two wonderful children, Chiara and Dante. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and has completed the prestigious Radcliffe Publishing Course. You can learn more about her work at FLO.NYC, where she shares her stories, poems, photos and videos.

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