“This experience is one that Chicago kids often dream about being a part of, so the girls were grateful for the opportunity.”

Mercy Home proudly participated in the 90th Annual Bud Billiken Parade this summer. In what hopes to be a yearly tradition, youth and coworkers represented our Home while marching in the renowned South Side spectacle, the largest African-American parade in the United States.

Marching behind Mercy Home’s familiar green banner, girls and coworkers from Walgreen Home smiled and waved at the crowds along Martin Luther King Drive in Bronzeville.

“It was a great cultural experience for the girls,” said Brittany Terrell, Director of Education Resources at the boys home. “The girls were able to see very famous Chicago dance teams perform, which they were thrilled about. The girls were happy to represent Mercy Home, as the crowd was excited to see our banner in the lineup!”

The parade is the brainchild of the late Robert S. Abbott, “the father of black journalism” and founder of the Chicago Defender, the legendary newspaper for African-Americans which served as a cultural beacon during the Great Migration as it spread news of northern jobs and opportunity to the south.

In 1923, Abbott established the “Bud Club,” a social club for young African Americans in Chicago that echoed the Defender’s children’s page, which encouraged reading, appropriate social conduct, and community involvement. With “Bud the Billiken” as the club’s mascot, Abbott expanded the club’s scope to include a parade in 1929.

To this day, the Bud Billiken Parade continues to celebrate African-American culture while connecting the community to resources that promote education and empowerment. Built upon the rich legacy of the Defender, the parade’s core values — education, empowerment, and experience — remain in the heart of young people, like those from Mercy Home who marched last Saturday.

“This experience is one that Chicago kids often dream about being a part of, so the girls were grateful for the opportunity,” said Terrell.