Taking Revolution and the Fight Against Police Terror to Chicago Bud Billiken Day Parade

August 10, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From readers:

Bud Billiken Parade, 2015Bud Billiken Parade, Chicago, the largest and oldest African-American parade in the U.S. (Photo: Special to revcom.us)

Saturday, August 8—Tens of thousands of people lined Martin Luther King Boulevard for hours to watch the Bud Billiken parade, the largest African-American parade in the country. About 20 people—Black, white and Latino, from five years old to over 60 years—marched in the Revolution Books contingent in the parade. Revolution Books invited other groups to participate. The Revolution Club Chicago Chapter had a contingent as did Stop Mass Incarceration/Rise Up October, which included Anonymous Chicago.

The Revolution Club carried a large banner, “Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution.” Wearing BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! shirts, they gave a very sharp and clear message around what humanity needs—revolution! They carried a large poster of the Revolution newspaper cover of Sandra Bland while others passed out the newspaper and palm cards with Bob Avakian’s quote about the “potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness: Black people playing a crucial role in putting an end, at long last, to this system” on one side and “What we need is an actual revolution—and if you are serious about an actual revolution, you have to get seriously into BA” on the other side.

The Stop Mass Incarceration Network/Rise Up October contingent carried the “Stolen Lives” banner, with photos of people killed by police across the country, and a big poster for Rise Up October. They called for people to join in the struggle to STOP Police Terror, Which Side Are You On? and be part of the October 24 protest in New York City. The reaction especially to the banners and message was electric. A number of people asked us to stop and hold the Stolen Lives banner so they could take photos of it. The chant “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!” was massively popular, with most of the crowd putting their hands up and chanting as our group passed by. The chant “Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cops to Jail! The whole damn system is guilty as hell!” was taken up widely. People passing out thousands of palm cards about Rise Up October had trouble keeping up with the demand. Many onlookers on the sidelines eagerly passed them around to others.

Last year’s parade was on August 9, the day that Michael Brown was murdered in Ferguson. The change in awareness and resistance around the country since then were reflected in this year’s parade. Sandra Bland’s national sorority had a float, “Say Her Name,” with posters and Sandra’s picture. Dance troupe floats included “BLM” and “Black Lives Matter.” Stop Police Crimes had a float.

Revolution Books also had a tent along the parade route that was decorated with posters and banners and provided a place for people to sign up and pick up large bundles of palm cards to get out to family and friends. A number of people stopped to look at the faces on the Stolen Lives banner. Others posted up small Stolen Lives posters near their barbeque spots and remarked that they knew some of the people on the poster.



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