To commemorate Juneteenth – historically, the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865, also known widely as "Freedom Day" – thousands gathered Saturday, June 16, for a parade that ran through historic East Austin via Chicon Street, ending with music-and-food-focused family gatherings at nearby Rosewood Park.
While documenting the festivities, "Snapshot" conversed with participants and residents, asking each, "With so many challenges to the idea of true freedom still persisting today, what can we – as individuals, Austinites, U.S., and global citizens – do to uphold and further this ideal?"
"Austin still has a lot of steps to true freedom, but you know, through time and process it'll work," said East Austin resident Storm Douglas (pictured below, along with 4-year-old grandson Desmond and Austin Police Chief Brian Manley). "You gotta believe – that's it."
"First of all, we have to look to make sure that we have policies that promote freedom and that our practices follow our policies," said Chief Manley between passing out candy to children. "But in an event like what we have today ... it's the opportunity to build community, because we have to have trust and trust can only come from events like this and other great things we do across the city."
"Freedom is peace, unity, and joy," said Patricia Mosley, pictured with peace flag and her four kids. I'd tell [my children]: let freedom ring, stay creative, stay full of joy, always be polite to people, and keep Austin beautiful. This is our peace sign telling everybody, 'We're all one.'"
"Once we're educated as a community ... we can accomplish greater things," said Ashley Mays, granddaughter of Sam Mays, owner of endangered, iconic Eastside eatery Sam's Bar-B-Que. "As a human race, we are a family – division is not the answer, and love is the key."
"In Austin, right now, it's about community, it's about equity, and it's about access," said Mayor Steve Adler, who led the parade. "So we celebrate the historical achievement that Juneteenth represents, but we also keep top of mind the real push forward for equity and access ... that's happening in this city right now. We need to double down and keep it going."
See the complete Juneteenth parade photo gallery. Want to pitch an event, happening, idea, or person for "Snapshot"? Email the author/photog: email@example.com.