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Alderman Calls For Shorter Bud Billiken Parade

By Chuck Sudo in News on Aug 12, 2014 1:50PM

Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers

Could a shorter Bud Billiken Parade become a reality? That’s what one alderman suggests, if it means there isn’t a repeat of this year’s edition, which featured the first shooting in the parade’s 85-year history.

Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) suggested Monday a shorter parade as part of a conversation regarding possible changes to the oldest and largest African-American parade in the country, after two teens were shot during the parade near 42nd Street and King Drive. Witnesses said there were several babies and one woman in a wheelchair in the vicinity of the shooting.

The parade, which starts near 39th Street and King Drive, can last more than five hours, has become an all-day celebration for black families and a destination for politicians looking to court votes and curry favor with their political bases. Dowell suggested shortening the route and time for the parade. “I’m just saying no parade should go five to six hours,” Dowell told the Sun-Times. She also suggested looking at changes to traffic management and how police are dispersed along the route.

Dowell also disagreed with an assessment by parade organizer Beverly Reed-Scott that the shooting was a “minor” incident and decried media coverage of the shooting. Reed-Scott doubled down on her stance during an interview on Fox News Chicago.

“In the past, headlines have never been, `Bud Billiken Parade happens. Nobody shot. Nobody killed.’ This year when we have a minor incident, to have the lead about that fantastic parade to be the shooting was unfair to the thousands of children who practiced six months waiting for this moment to shine,” Reed-Scott said.

Reed-Scott continued.

“If someone was shot in the hand and arm anywhere else, that shooting would not have been reported. Murders are reported. Shootings in the hand are not. It was Bud Billiken that gave that shooting prominence.”

FOX 32 News Chicago

Maybe so. But no shooting in Chicago is "minor," and it was also unfair to the thousands of parade-goers and participants to have to dodge bullets and gunmen along the parade route. Dowell disagreed with Reed-Scott’s belief the shooting was a minor thing.