These were our top 10 campaign moments of 2021…
With 2021 coming to a close, I can’t help but feel grateful for the relentless support and dedication I’ve received from my supporters this year. This is the year I launched my congressional campaign to represent the Illinois 1st District, and so much has happened since I made the decision to run.
In honor of this year, I asked some of my staff and volunteers to vote on their favorite campaign moments. Thus, the following list was formed. Scroll down for a quick journey through 2021 nostalgia.
#10: International Festival of Life
On Saturday, September 11th and Sunday, September 12th, we rolled out to the International Festival of Life, a celebration of African and Caribbean culture held at Washington Park. Attended by thousands of people, this festival had it all — over 200 vendors, amazing diverse food, engaging entertainment, and, of course, us and our booth! I am grateful to have been able to give a speech from the main stage, as well as to interact with so many people one-on-one.
#9: Sherwood Peace Garden Event
This event holds a special place in my heart because it was our first campaign event! People came from all over the district to hear me speak about my vision for safe communities and my commitment to not just fight the violence, but also to make the peace. I spoke in a peace garden I helped create as a part of the Chicago Peace Campaign when we successfully confronted violent corners and brought them peace a decade ago. It was so cold that day that I buttoned my shirt all the way up to the top button. . . but I figured, if I can handle this, this campaign won’t be so bad after all. And so far, “not so bad” has been a massive understatement.
#8: My Trip to Washington
I spent the first couple of days of this month in the nation’s capital! This was my first trip to Washington, DC as a candidate. I was able to connect with people from all over the country who are passionate about making positive change in this nation.
#7: 1st District Together Rally
On November 10th, a diverse group of speakers from all over the Illinois 1st District offered inspirational thoughts at this unity-themed rally. The rally, hosted at the Maranatha Chapel by Pastors Doug and Lamond Banks, had great fellowship, food, and music. The hosts prayed a powerful prayer, and the speakers offered important insights about how we as a district can come together to make change that works for all of us. Together, we demonstrated that, while people in power try to divide us, we won’t allow them to take our voice. Standing together with the diverse and vibrant communities of the newly-redistricted 1st District, we looked like America.
#6: Fedora Fridays
For several weeks during the spring and summer, we held Fedora Fridays, where we spent the day at a local business or organization in the district (with me wearing my trusty fedora hat, of course). These events allowed us to engage with customers to hear the heart of the community, as well as to promote local businesses and organizations. It was an honor to hear the heart of the community from everyone we connected with at these events.
#5: Family 1st Town Hall in South Chicago
We held a Town Hall-style event in South Chicago, where I was able to share thoughts about how to revitalize our communities and families and directly answer questions from people like you. I was humbled by the engagement and energy at this event, and excited to be able to share the importance of my campaign and why the 1st District community needs a new representative in Congress.
#4: September 11th Memorial
To honor the sacrifices that our country’s firefighters have made, both during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on our nation and while saving lives every day that they are on duty, a group of supporters (including my kids) and I went to our local fire department with some thank-you donuts. I enjoyed building relationships with our local firefighters and offering them some well-deserved thanks (and carbs).
#3: Memorial Day festivities
Memorial Day this year was, well, memorable for several reasons! So much happened that day. First we met with veterans in Bronzeville who shared memories of their compatriots. They offered insights from their own experiences watching our communities change over the years, and their vision for the growth of our district. Later, we had a picnic with supporters at Barnard Park. Listening to these veterans sharing memories of friends they’d fought alongside emphasized to me the importance of memory for building community. As members of families, churches, and communities, we base a large part of our identity in the memories that we share with others. Our memories shape our understanding of what it means to be a part of our community. They impact our values and the vision that we have for the future. For me, it is memories like this one that will determine how I serve the 1st District in Congress.
#2: Our Campaign Launch
Eight months ago, we officially announced my candidacy and launched our campaign. We held the launch at the Two Mile Coffee Bar, a beautiful cafe housed inside a historic Metra train station in my home neighborhood of Beverly. We deliberately chose to host the launch at an old train station to reflect our campaign theme, “Let’s Move Forward Together”. I was honored to receive strong endorsements and affirming words from community leaders and supporters like you, and continue to be blown away by the dedicated support I receive every day.
#1: Bud Billiken Parade
You know this event was great since it out-ranks even the campaign launch! Native Chicagoans will recognize the Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic as a 93-year-old annual tradition honoring the past and celebrating the future of the African-American community. This year, the parade was held on August 14, and it was so much fun! The energy throughout the event was electric. We had about 40 volunteers and supporters coming from near and far to march with us during the parade, chanting the campaign rhymes that we’d come up with for this event. We had red campaign shirts and signs, and we handed out campaign fans and candy to kids attending the event. We even had original music! Bishop Edward Peecher, a Chicago legend, gave us the honor of recording the vocals for our song. Our campaign staff had the opportunity to meet elected officials, community leaders, and celebrities at the VIP/Dignitary breakfast. But most importantly, I was able to interact with the amazing constituents of the south side of Chicago, who were as fun, entertaining, and insightful as the parade itself.
Other Special Moments:
The Mokena Fourth of July Parade. Marching at the Fourth of July parade in Mokena and introducing ourselves to voters was a great way to honor our nation and community.
Celebrating America’s first Juneteenth. This year, Juneteenth, the June 19th holiday celebrating the emancipation of America’s slaves, became an official national holiday. To celebrate, the Chris Butler for Congress community connected with community members at the Beverly/Morgan Park Family Festival & Business Crawl, as well as the Perspectives/IIT Math & Science Academy Celebrate Freedom Event. I also spoke at the All Black Everything Expo at Compassion Baptist Church and the One Eleven Food Hall Juneteenth Celebration. Lastly, a group of supporters and I biked around Englewood for the Juneteenth Roll N Peace. This bike ride event was successful in its mission of reducing community violence, as no violence was reported in Englewood that night.
Hope Center Clean-Up Day. That day, a group of supporters and I joined the Hope Center in Blue Island to clean up the community! It was great to connect with passionate, dedicated Blue Island residents. Plus, my son Christopher Anthony ended up being featured in a Chicago Tribune article about this event, making me a proud dad.
This year has shown me the power of building relationships and coalitions with diverse Americans. I cannot wait to continue building on the work of my dedicated team of staff, volunteers, and supporters in fueling our movement all the way to Congress.
If you want to take the next step in seeing the Illinois 1st District truly flourish, get involved in the Chris Butler for Congress community! Help make many more dynamic and illuminating events happen by joining our mailing list, donating to the campaign, volunteering for the campaign, and more.
It’s been a wonderful year. I can’t wait to see what 2022 brings.