On the Scene
Lisa Madigan waves to parade-goers at the Bud Billiken Parade./Sun-Times photo by Lou Foglia 0

The Billiken Parade, where black voters and customers matter

August 13th, 2016

That was Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan standing in the back seat of a convertible Thunderbird. And she’s not even running for office ( this year. )

She was among the many political and business leaders who showed up Saturday for the Bud Billiken Parade, the largest-of-its-kind event promoting black culture on a parade route. It drew tens of thousands of attendees. Mayor Rahm Emanuel was there for a boisterous pre-parade breakfast. And Cook County Commission President Toni Preckwinkle held court at a tent at the end of the parade in Washington Park.

Supporters from Hillary Clinton’s camp marched. U.S. Senator Mark Kirk and U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, who’s challenging him for his seat, were there in person.

McDonald’s, Walgreens and Hyatt, the luxury hotel company, all had floats. Hyatt’s promoted diversity.

Bob Mariano, the Roundy’s CEO who launched Mariano’s in Chicago, cruised the parade along Martin Luther King Drive in a red Corvette.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson shook hands with parade-goers, and former Gov. Pat Quinn posed for photos in exchange for signatures for a petition drive to impose term limits on the mayor’s office.

One pol seemed to take for granted the crowd. Dorothy Brown, the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk who’s under federal investigation, could be seen walking the parade route with her nose in her phone.

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