As the 79th Annual Bud Billiken Day Parade prepares to step off Saturday, the Chicago Defender joins the fray of faith, education and civic leaders in giving encouragement to the young people of this city as they prepare to go back to school. Bud Billiken

As the 79th Annual Bud Billiken Day Parade prepares to step off Saturday, the Chicago Defender joins the fray of faith, education and civic leaders in giving encouragement to the young people of this city as they prepare to go back to school.

Bud Billiken was the protector of children and was born to help us all to see and appreciate the value of them.

Though some of our young people have been involved in some pretty bad and destructive things, they do not represent the lot of them.

The Defender, along with media outlets throughout the city and state, had the professional duty to report on the shootings and killings involving young people–as victims or perpetrators.

But also reported in the Defender were stories about students at Lindblom high school who won an award for chronicling their school’s history; Al Raby students who made cutting-edge strides in the science field, producing environmentally-friendly bio-fuel at their West Side school; students at North Lawndale College Prep high school who took seriously the film production program that school now offers; a Curie high school senior who never missed a day of school, from kindergarten on, and went on to college on an academic scholarship.

We also make a point of celebrating our young people involved in entertainment, especially when we realize that a number of major stars call Chicago home.

We identify and celebrate our young athletes with our Prep Star of the Week, where we follow their athletic exploits from pee-wee football to high school All-City. In fact, we are the ONLY newspaper that does that.

Last week, we reported that the Chicago Defender Charities handed out over $250,000 in scholarships to outstanding student achievers who have excelled in the classroom and in the community.

There are numerous other stories.

The Defender does not gloss over or in any way discount the lives destroyed and lost to guns and other violence. Yet we realize, through our own news reporting, that Black youth deserve to be known for so much more.

Our young people are our future. We are not in it for the headlines or awards. We cover our youth because it is probably the most important thing we do.

It was something that Robert Sengstacke Abbott recognized way back in 1929, and it is no less important today.

It’s Bud Billiken time! It’s time for students to prepare for the school year ahead.

The Defender looks forward to more coverage of outstanding achievements that our youth work hard toward and deserve to have headlined.

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