Annual Englewood back-to-school parade canceled due to police resources ahead of Chicago DNC

Leah Hope Image
Thursday, April 18, 2024
Annual Englewood back-to-school parade canceled ahead of Chicago DNC
Annual Englewood back-to-school parade has been canceled due to police resources ahead of the 2024 Chicago DNC, organizers said.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A beloved tradition celebrated in Chicago's Englewood community for decades has been canceled.

Organizers called off an annual back-to-school parade, but the school supply giveaway is still on track.

The Democratic National Convention in August is the reason for the changes.

Typically this time of year, planning for the Englewood Back to School Parade along 63rd Street in August would be well underway.

But, this year, organizers say the actual parade won't happen.

"It's a little disappointing," Sandra Streeter said.

The parade would have been in its 63rd year this summer. But the event, that would typically have a thousand participating and thousands more watching, will be scaled back.

The parade chairwoman said, due to police resources needed on Aug. 17 in advance of the Democratic National Convention, the parade committee chose to only do the back-to-school backpack giveaway.

Streeter said, unfortunately, changing dates would have conflicted with other events and school starting.

"With the DNC coming, we do understand. We do understand we may not be able to have the event in the capacity that we usually have it, but we can still have some aspect," Streeter said. "We just wanted to make sure we have a safe event."

Some longtime Englewood residents are upset to hear of something good for the community going away, even if it is temporary.

SEE ALSO: Midwest Democratic Party leaders meet in Chicago to discuss election strategy, DNC preparations

"It kind of breaks my heart for all the children and community to come. And see, I know they are doing the book bags, but that parade makes a difference in this community," Janice Wilkins said.

Melvin Walls agreed.

"It's entertainment for the whole community to get the kids excited about going to school, so that's a positive thing. That's a good thing, so why take it away?" Walls said.

Alderman Stephanie Coleman, with the 16th Ward, will serve as a committeeman at the DNC.

She said the convention is an opportunity to change the narrative of Chicago for the better in the long term and in the short term.

She said, if security resources will be stretched, she hopes to see investment in communities.

"Perhaps we can invest in some of our community-based organizations, get some positive synergy happening in our community. That way crime won't increase," Coleman said.

CPD said they are working with event organizers across the city to come up with safety plans.

As for the event in Englewood, the mission of the committee is getting kids ready for school.

While there won't be a parade, hundreds of backpacks with supplies and referrals to resources are expected to be given out on Aug. 17 in Ogden Park, as has been done in past years.