Englewood Back to School Parade pivots to block party in light of July 4th Highland Park shooting

Neighborhood event now in its 61st year

ByMaher Kawash WLS logo
Saturday, August 20, 2022

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Now 61 years running, an Englewood neighborhood back to school celebrations returned in style on Saturday morning.

The entire event is centered around the youth in hopes of deterring violence in the community and getting kids ready for the new school year.

"We honor the youth, we look to the youth and we try to help to motivate their life," said event volunteer Linda Black. "This event really helps them understand how important they are."

The annual event is called the Englewood Back to School Parade but organizers turned it into a block party in light of the July Fourth Highland Park Shooting.

"First I was nervous but then once I was with my group and we practiced, I felt more at home when I saw everybody cheering me on so I felt good about it," said Rucayah Allwood, a senior at Englewood STEM High School.

The back to school event is something people in Englewood look forward to every year because of all the fun and excitement and unity it brings to the community.

School supplies, computers and backpacks are all donated to the kids and there are a number of vendors who provide critical resources for families who need it most.

"Each community usually has builders in it, which Englewood has a lot of builders. And that's what it takes," said event director Sandra Streeter.

Residents say it's a refreshing spotlight on their community.

"We're not dodging bullets. We're not running away from the violence," said Rashana Baldwin, a lifelong Englewood resident. "We know that our community has its own challenges, but we rise to the occasion to show that there's good in our neighborhood."