Black businesses respond to provide Bud Billiken gifts

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As a result of a report in a recent Chicago Sun-Times article, one of this community’s premier Black businessmen, Larry Huggins, founder and president of Riteway Construction, has stepped up and agreed to provide three laptops for last year’s

As a result of a report in a recent Chicago Sun-Times article, one of this community’s premier Black businessmen, Larry Huggins, founder and president of Riteway Construction, has stepped up and agreed to provide three laptops for last year’s Bud Billiken Royal Court participants, plus provide the disputed $279 for the young lady who did not get the cash component of the program.

“We enjoy putting on the Bud Billiken King and Queen contest. We love the kids,” said Carol Bell, Defender executive director finance. “This is the 62nd year for the contest.

It’s unfortunate that we too have suffered from the current economic times like most other newspapers. But I can assure you that this snafu will be short-lived.”

Beverly Reed-Scott, Sustainable Futures director for the Chicago Defender Charities, said though she regrets the Chicago Sun-Times article, “I am encouraged by the outpouring of support from the community for both the Chicago Defender Charities and the Chicago Defender Newspaper.”

Reed-Scott pointed out that although the newspaper and the charities are separate and distinct entities, “we are united in our commitment to continuing Robert Abbott’s legacy of ‘taking care of the people.’ We have been here to herald in the Great Black Migration through the election of this nation’s first Black president.”

Reed-Scott said the Bud Billiken Parade & Picnic “is a strong proud tradition that will not be reduced by sensationalism. Just ask the 70 youth we hired for the summer, and the (Sun-Times article) just speaks to the continued need for our own voice in our own newspaper.”

Bell said the newspaper has received numerous calls from benevolent people and businesses offering to participate in the Bud Billiken program by donating gifts to the Bud Billiken participants.

“It is a blessing to have Black businesses and institutions responding to need in these troubled times,” she said, recalling a quote from former Defender publisher John Sengstacke, who said, “If we take care of the community first, the community will take care of us.”

“The Defender is the community’s paper,” Bell said.

Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender

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