RI President: Bud Billiken parade celebrates education

By Sakuji Tanaka, in English and Japanese
Photos by Alyce Henson/Rotary Images

On 11 August, I had the honor of taking part in the Bud Billiken Parade in Chicago — the city where Rotary began. The parade and picnic, the oldest and largest African-American parade in the United States, celebrates children returning to school after summer break.

During the parade, the counsel general of Japan in Chicago, Yoshifumi Okamura, who is an honorary member of Rotary One in Chicago, rode in a convertible with me. I met Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., who I pinned with my Peace Through Service pins.

I was happy to see that many people were aware of Rotary and had a positive view of it. Spectators who saw my name on the vehicle were shouting “Mr. Tanaka, Mr. Tanaka!” It took waving both my hands to acknowledge all the well-wishers along the route.

Taking part in the parade was a great way to promote the importance of education, one of Rotary’s areas of focus, and get children excited about returning to school.

Read more about RI President Tanaka and watch a profile.







1 thought on “RI President: Bud Billiken parade celebrates education

  1. Dear President Sakuji – what a wonderful story and great way for the children in Chicago to get excited about returning to school. My club will be volunteering this weekend to pack backpacks with school supplies for over 3000 children in Windsor, Ontario Canada – one of the signature projects of Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland – “Pack for Success” – Literacy is surely one the foundations of Peace. With that in mind we are looking forward so much to your visit on Sept.21 for the “International Rotary Peace Walk” with Rotarians from District 6400 , 6380 and 7770 – and community members as well!
    Yours In Rotary and Peace,
    Joyce Jones, President
    The Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland


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