INDIANAPOLIS — Activists, community members and youth marched across Indianapolis to celebrate peace on Juneteenth.
Juneteenth honors the official end to slavery in the United States. On June 17, 2021, it officially became a federal holiday.
The holiday is considered a recognition of the struggle African Americans faced to get to where we are today, but it's also a celebration of their freedom.
"It's just a sign of peace," James Henderson said. "We got free."
Youth from several local organizations including the Indianapolis Black Firefighters Association, Minority Police Officers Association, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement, Indianapolis Fire Department and the Indianapolis Police Department marched to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park - home of the city's peace memorial.
John Walton says although there is freedom, more needs to be done.
"Even though those steel shackles have been taken off of us in 1863. We are still dealing with a whole lot of challenges referenced African Americans today some of it even in the mindset, bias, discrimination and other things we work thing," Walton said. "The good news is we continue to inspire our young people."
People of all ages shared their thoughts on freedom and what it means for them in their communities.
16-year-old James Henderson says he wants to find more "freedom" from gun violence.
"It makes me feel sad because some of the people that got killed is my homies," Henderson said.
It was January 1, 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation declaring all persons held as slaves shall be set free. But that didn't immediately happen for everyone across the country.
That freedom didn't reach Galveston, Texas until June 19, 1865. That's when federal troops arrived to take control and ensure that all enslaved people were freed.
"It's important to know this history because it shows how we started, how we broke through those challenges and how we got here to where we are now," Aubrie Upshaw said.