Meet Chirlane

Chirlane McCray—writer, poet, activist, and longtime partner of Public Advocate Bill de Blasio—has worked in a wide range of fields over her 30-year career, including politics, publishing and healthcare. In capacities both professional and personal, Chirlane believes in the power of an individual to make a difference.  And she has always brought her progressive values to any endeavor she takes on.

As a parent, she encourages her children, Dante and Chiara, to be involved in their community and with making the world a better place. Alongside her husband Bill, she works purposefully to help make New York City an even better place to raise a family.

Chirlane began writing at a young age. In high school she discovered ways to use writing as a tool for activism. While studying at Wellesley College and the famed Radcliffe Publishing Course, Chirlane became a member of the Combahee River Collective, a pioneering black feminist collective, which inspired her to write groundbreaking prose and poetry.

After moving to New York, Chirlane spent nearly a decade in magazine publishing, working as a writer, editor and marketing research analyst, in addition to freelance writing for Essence magazine and performing spoken word poetry. In 1983, her work was published in Homegirls, a black feminist anthology still used in college classes today.

Throughout her writing career, Chirlane has tackled a wide range of projects. She worked as a speechwriter for Mayor David N. Dinkins, State Comptroller Carl McCall, and City Comptroller Bill Thompson. She also served as a political appointee during the Clinton Administration at the New York Foreign Press Center.

In 2005, Chirlane began work at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, where she spent nearly five years immersed in the challenge of developing culturally sensitive messages in a hospital environment. In partnership with the advertising firm Della Femina, Chirlane also worked to re-brand the hospital to attract a wider clientele and to increase visibility city-wide and in the local, ethnic communities surrounding the hospital.

Chirlane currently lives with her family in Park Slope.


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