Juneteenth Parade a Community Affirmation
Today is the 147th anniversary of the acknowledgment of the abolition of slavery in Texas. And residents of East Austin began celebrating this morning with a community parade.
The parade wound through East Austin. Thousands of residents lined the streets, catching candy thrown from a procession of cars. Police officers, firefighters and City Council members took part.
Nathan Robertson watched on Chicon Street with his kids. He’s lived in East Austin his whole life. And says he’s been coming out to watch the parade for as long as he can remember.
“See people we haven’t seen in a while because of work and church and school,” he said. “Opportunity to celebrate again and renew our commitment to the community and see people we haven’t seen in a year.”
Debra Cobbs watched the parade at the corner of 12th and Chicon. She’s volunteering with a ministry group called Prayer Café.
“I was supposed to be in it, but I got a call from the event coordinator here who asked me to come and share, so that way I’ll be blessed to be in the air conditioning a little bit today,” Cobbs said.
Community outreach has become a key element of the annual Juneteenth parade. The volunteer Juneteenth Committee helped coordinate free HIV screening booths. Volunteers also handed out information about health initiatives specifically targeting African-Americans.
Cobbs was greeting onlookers outside the Prayer Café at 12th and Chicon, an intersection known for drug dealing and prostitution. She says the parade is emblematic of the changes happening in the neighborhood.
“I think it’s a great improvement for the community, for the children, the next generation,” she said. “More of a fellowship, now, you know.”
A Juneteenth festival is happening all day at Rosewood Park. There will be live entertainment, games and more until 9 p.m.