I don’t support animal cruelty, but the Dread Head Cowboy’s heart was in the right place

Adam Hollingsworth mounted his horse and took a crucial stand: Black kids matter.

SHARE I don’t support animal cruelty, but the Dread Head Cowboy’s heart was in the right place

Adam Hollingsworth, otherwise known as “The Dread Head Cowboy,” holds his 3-year-old son as he speaks to reporters on Sept. 24, 2020.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Forget the horse. Black kids matter. 

It’s high noon and high time for an urgent message from The Dread Head Cowboy.

Adam Hollingsworth, aka The Dread Head Cowboy, the Chicago equestrian and community advocate, landed in a passel of trouble last week when he launched a one-man, one-horse campaign to save our children.

“Kids’ lives matter,” Hollingsworth declared on Facebook Live Monday as he rode the Dan Ryan Expressway. “Until kids’ lives matter, until we understand kids’ lives matter, nothing else matters.”

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Hollingsworth, 33, saddled up his horse Nunu and galloped into the afternoon rush hour for more than seven miles, south to 95th Street, where he exited the highway and was promptly arrested by police.

The spectacle snarled traffic for miles and spun headlines for days. ABC7 followed the saga live during its news broadcast. You don’t see a man on a horse galloping down a city expressway every day.

Hollingsworth was charged with several misdemeanor counts, including reckless conduct, disobeying a police officer and criminal trespass on the expressway. Later, he was charged with an additional felony count of aggravated animal cruelty. 

Nunu had been improperly saddled and was beaten during the cowboy’s ride, prosecutors allege. Nunu’s hoof and legs were bleeding, and he was left in critical condition, Cook County prosecutors told the court.

Hollingsworth was imprisoned and ridiculed.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, once an ally in his advocacy, castigated Hollingsworth, labeling his effort a “stunt.”

After he was bailed out on a $25,000 bond, he told the media he is receiving death threats.

His ride jeopardized safety, but no people were hurt.

It is all a tragic distraction.

2020 has seen “a summer of horror” in Chicago, my colleague Maudlyne Ihejirika writes in the Chicago Sun-Times. In a time of play, six children were murdered, none older than 10.

All shot to death by abject criminals in this “killing season,” she writes. This year, 520 people citywide have been killed in gun violence.

Chicago’s killing season began long, bloody eons ago. We own a despicable legacy of murdered children. It stretches back and beyond the murder of Dantrell Davis, 7, in 1992; Robert “Yummy” Sandifer, 11, in 1994; Blair Holt, 16, in 2007; Derrion Albert, 16, in 2009; and Tyshawn Lee, 9, in 2015.

In 2013, Jonylah Watkins was shot to death in a gang-related killing. She was 6 months old. And many more.

This year, community activists have been leading endless marches, rightly protesting for days, nights and weeks on end, on behalf of the Black victims of police brutality.

For our Black children, not so much.

Hollingsworth made mistakes. His well-meaning demonstration required extensive careful planning, media savvy and community support. He went it alone.

His supposedly biggest mistake? He did not take good care of Nunu. For that, he has earned death threats, Hollingsworth tearfully told reporters Thursday.

“I’m out here doing some positive things, and the negative they are trying to bring upon what I’m out here really about, I feel like they are trying to take away from the bigger picture,” he said.

I don’t support animal cruelty. But Hollingsworth’s heart is in the right place — with our dead children.

Hollingsworth mounted his horse and took a crucial stand. We need thousands more Dread Head Cowboys to saddle up and get to work. We have babies to save.

Send letters to letters@suntimes.com.

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