This year’s Bud Billiken Day Parade marked the 87th year of the back to school parade and picnic. Started in 1929, by Robert S. Abbott, the parade was originally created for our youth to showcase their multiple skills and talents. It promotes the value of hard work, positive role models, and the virtues of education, attracting over 1 million attendees annually. Popular high school bands and youth groups work all year raising money for their costumes, perfecting their routines and polishing up their acts. They usually can’t wait to show the world that positive things are happening besides crime and gun violence in Chicago.
For the first time in the parade’s long-running history, the Chicago Defender Charities, which runs and operates the parade, enforced a rule that only 100 members could participate per group. The organization said that this rule as well as a total entry limit of 175 participants were created to shorten the length of the parade and have been in existence for the past two years. Enforcing the 100-participant cap this year led to unintended consequences for some groups. The South Shore Drill Team, for example, decided not to participate.
Hear what parade supporters had to say:
Jonathan A. Mason, Sr. – International President of Phi Beta Sigma Alexa Davis (15) – Dyett Arts High School, Freshman Ebony Gilbert (16) – Wendell Phillips High School, Junior Marshawn Porter (16) – King High School – Sophmore Nikita Hollis – 35 years Billiken supporter, Bronzeville
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