Bud Billikin Parade
On Saturday, August 11, tens of thousands of black people at Chicago’s Bud Billiken back-to-school parade, the largest African-American parade in the U.S, were introduced to this revolution and Bob Avakian through a dynamic contingent that came together around the Basics quotes 1:13 that no more generations of our youth — here and around the world — be condemned to the horrors this system imposes on them.
The response from the crowd was electric. People’s faces lit up and there were cheers, applause and some raised fists as they read the 6-foot signs with BA’s quote “no more generations”, many people reached out for cards and took extra to distribute in the crowd or to take home to spread to their neighborhoods. People in the crowd joined in on the chants “When the revolution comes” and “We say no more.” One young woman was so inspired by the contingent she repeatedly tried to scale the fence to join and only gave up when the police stopped her.
The enlarged cover of Revolution newspaper with the picture of Trayvon Martin also struck a deep cord. At one spot along the route where the bystanders were mostly youth, the crowd began chanting “Trayvon Martin, Trayvon Martin.”
When the contingent passed the press reviewing stand the announcer read the whole of the poster of 1:13, to the crowd including “Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party” and then read the BAsics banner “BAsics – from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian.”
The contingent was made up of people of all ages and many different nationalities, some who are building this movement for revolution, both veterans and a number of younger people newly coming into it – some who want to be part of newly developing Revolution Clubs – some who are part of the fight against police brutality and murder, and others who are fed up with the status quo and are dreaming of a better world and really wanted to take out the message of 1:13 to thousands of people who are brutalized and oppressed on a daily basis by this system. 5,000 BAsics 1:13 palm cards got out.
People contributed in many different ways, one person who has been part of actively taking out BA Everywhere made a very important contribution by spending the whole day in her Revolution t-shirt raising money selling refreshments at the Revolution tent to long lines of people who all got the 1:13 palm card. Another person postered the route before, during and after the parade. A videographer documented the contingent. Others developed chants.
The energy of the crowd fed back into the contingent and the enthusiasm of the marchers stayed high throughout the two-mile march. Most of the contingent gathered under the Revolution tent for two hours after the parade was over to wrangle over the importance of the day and what they learned and how to build on this. This crowd attracted other people who wanted to know more of what this was about. One young woman said she was really struck by the impact of this message on the crowd and this gave her a picture of the broad openness to revolution that she had not gotten previously from just talking to her friends and family. She said we have to do more of this, get this message out there, and bring people into the movement for revolution.