A celebration of community and African-American heritage, the parade is named for a cartoon that ran in the Chicago Defender for years, teaching young people to obey their parents, respect one another, and grow up to be honest, trustworthy citizens. The first Bud Billiken Parade provided these children, many of them underprivileged, with a fun, festive experience, and has since become a summertime tradition for nearly 50 million families.
“Historically, the Bud Billiken Parade has been a very important day in Chicago’s African-American community,” said Phil Hampton, Chief of the District’s Family and Community Engagement (FACE) department. “We were honored to be a part of this great day and appreciated the opportunity to spread the word about Back-to-School.”
As attendees consider this to be the culminating event of the summer, CPS used the parade to springboard its Back-to-School campaign, handing out thousands of t-shirts, fans, and other memorabilia adorned with the date for the first day of school – Tuesday, September 8, 2015.
This year’s CPS contingent included two floats – one for its JROTC programs and one boasting valedictorians from the Class of 2015. Ten CPS marching bands and two ROTC marching units also walked in the parade, as did hundreds of parents, staff and other District supporters. CPS staff was also available at Presence in the Park - the post-parade picnic held in Washington Park - to provide families with valuable Back-to-School information. These resources can also be found at cps.edu/b2s – the District’s Back-to-School website.