A chorus of Christmas carols rang through the streets of Austin Dec. 6 as elected officials and dozens of residents paraded down Madison Avenue and gathered in front of the Chicago Police Department’s 15th District headquarters for a tree lighting ceremony.
“This is so important for Austin because it gives the youth something positive to do, and it’s showing the sweeter side of our community,” said Yuvonne Bryant-Holmes, 32, an Austin resident whose son, Mashairi Tubbs, 7, had his picture taken with Santa Claus and sipped complimentary hot chocolate.
“So many negative things happen around here, so it’s nice to come together as a community and feel like a family,” she said.
Sponsors of the annual parade and tree lighting ceremony, which is in its eighth year, include the Mayfield Care Center, Loretto Hospital, Urban Partnership Bank, Coca-Cola, Forest Preserve District of Cook County and AT&T.
“This is the kick-off for me for just a long line in a series of Christmas, New Year and Kwanzaa events that I’ll be celebrating for the next 30 days,” said U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-7th). “We all warm up during the Yule time period.”
Davis led a sing-a-long to Jingle Bells with his fellow elected officials. Several police officers wore Santa hats, and Mr. and Mrs. Claus took pictures and listened to Christmas wishes from kids.
“Austin is on the rebound,” Davis said. “We’ve gone through a period of difficulty lately, but it’s a great place to live — it’s where I live — and I don’t think I’d want to live any place else in the City of Chicago, and I don’t think I’d want to live anywhere else in America than the city of Chicago.”