She Just Became The First Black Woman To Lead Chicago Fire Department In Its 160+ Year History


June 28, 2021

She has more than three decades of experience!

Annette Nance-Holt is making history as the first Black woman to lead the Chicago Fire Department (CFD) in its 160+ year history, WGN 9 News reports.


Nance-Holt has been with the CFD for 30 years, working in various capacities across the department. In 2018, she was appointed to become the first deputy commissioner, eventually advancing to acting commissioner earlier this year after the retirement of Richard C. Ford. Recently, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that Nance-Holt would soon become the permanent replacement pending City Council approval. 

At the time, Lieutenant Quention Curtis, founder of the Black Fire Brigade, spoke optimistically about the appointment, saying, “We have a huge diversity problem in the fire service, it’s not a secret, and we’re hoping Annette will come in and fill that gap. We know she has the tools to do it, just a matter of getting it done.” 

In addition to her work as a veteran member of CFD, Nance-Holt is also the founder of Purpose Over Pain, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting parents who have lost their children to gun violence. In 2007, Nance-Holt’s 16-year-old son Blair was killed on a bus while shielding a classmate from gunfire. Since then, she has dedicated her community work in his memory. 


“Commissioner Holt has more than three decades of proven leadership and a passion for public service that makes her the perfect fit for this role. Furthermore, in a time where more work remains in order to eliminate discrimination, racism, and sexism from the firefighter profession, Commissioner Holt’s history-making appointment as the first woman and Black woman to lead as Fire Commissioner couldn’t have come at a better moment,” Mayor Lightfoot told reporters. 

Before her confirmation, Nance-Holt was still serving the people, helping welcome new paramedics at a graduation ceremony.

Congratulations, Commissioner Nance-Holt! Because of you, we can!


Photo Courtesy of ABC7/Chicago

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join the BOTWC newsletter for the latest in news & culture!

By clicking Submit, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Newsletter Signup
Skip to content