INDIANAPOLIS — With arms connected, children, community, and city leaders walked down Mass Avenue to King Kennedy Memorial Park to honor Juneteenth.
They remembered the blood, sweat, and tears of their ancestors and celebrated the freedom that was finally given 157 years ago.
"Juneteenth means freedom. That's it," Twjonia Webb said.
Webb expresses how important Monday's peaceful walk is and the true meaning behind it.
In 1863, former President Abraham Lincoln signed a law stating "All persons held as slaves shall be free," but all slaves weren't freed.
"Juneteenth in 1865 in Texas was 2.5 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed and we still had people who didn't know they were free," Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Chief Randal Taylor said.
Taylor says many didn't know of the law ending slavery until June 19th, 1865.
It's a day that's since been recognized among the black community for years.
In 2021, Juneteenth became a federal holiday.
"I am very happy that we have started to acknowledge this as a federal holiday. It's a beginning, it's a journey. We are not there yet. The next day is better than the last," Webb said.
Meanwhile, times have changed.
"It's good that you get to come together as a group, as a community," Parker Edwards said.
Community members and city leaders say more needs to be done for racial equality. Something, they vouch to work towards.
"It's a day of celebration but it's also a very serious day about where the city needs to go. We are making progress we have greater diversity in all areas of public safety but we need more," Mayor Joe Hogsett said.
"It's also a reminder that things don't change overnight. A simple stroke of a pen doesn't end racism or oppression. It doesn't make things fair. One of the things really important is that we have to continue to work on and improve our community each and every single day," Prosecutor Ryan Mears said.