Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's Coronavirus Stare Has Become a Meme and She's Into It

Internet pranksters are placing her on-guard for correct social distancing behavior at the city's most legendary locations

Lori Lightfoot
Photo: Danny Martinez/Facebook

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has her eye on you, Chicago.

The city’s leader has become a meme in recent days after her stern call starting mid-March for Chicagoans to stay indoors in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Lightfoot’s paint-peeling stare inspired internet pranksters to playfully place her on-guard at the city’s most legendary locations — like the city’s lakefront, local restaurants like Superdawg and even at “The Bean,” where the manipulated images show the mayor patrolling public places to make sure people are abiding by social distancing rules.

“You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain,” one meme reads, showing Lightfoot’s face plastered over the city in a spotlight like Batman.

An Instagram account “whereslightfoot” now has about 40,000 followers since the page began posting about the 57-year-old history-making first-time mayor less than a week ago. (Lightfoot became both the first openly gay and the first black woman to be Chicago’s mayor when she was elected into office last April.)

“Where’s Lightfoot?” quickly turned into a warped riff on “Where’s Waldo?” — with Lightfoot strategically hidden in front of iconic Chicagoland images, like the Chicago Theater and a photo of the crowd gathered outside Wrigley Field after the Chicago Cubs won the 2016 World Series.

One meme even shows her standing inside a tank at the Shedd Aquarium, staring at kids on the other side of the glass.

“BRUH,” the local NBC Sports Chicago account replied to the image.

Earlier this week, Lightfoot appeared in a tongue-in-cheek public service announcement shared on Twitter in which she tried out different methods of informing people about the importance of avoiding public: “Stay at home and save lives.”

She’s also embracing the meme about her watchful eye.

“Chi Party Aunt is not wrong,” Lightfoot tweeted in response to another popular meme page in the city, which shared a photoshopped image of her face on the digital spitting board on Crown Fountain at Millennium Park.

Lightfoot says her wife and daughter have even been acting out some of the looming poses in her memes as well.

“We all need to find the humor, and from humor stems hope,” she said, according to CBS2 Chicago. “When you have hope, you can heal. Hope is the thing that gets you up in the morning, and propels you over the course of the day, and we need that hope. We need to have that sense that, even in this dark storm, there’s light.”

The mayor struck a chord with some Chicagoans, delivering a locally-inspired message of perseverance earlier in March.

“We have seen heat waves and polar vortexes, fought through recessions, depressions, and two World Wars,” Lightfoot said in a televised address at the time. “And when our city burned to the ground in a great fire, a fire that one historian noted started on DeKoven Street near Halsted and Roosevelt Road, it burned over ‘four square miles of our city, from the central business district and government buildings, slum areas and neighborhoods of the wealthy, theaters, churches and sporting houses’ and more, we rose from the ashes the very next day to grow bigger and stronger than we had ever been before.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.

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