AUSTIN, Texas — Hundreds of Austinites commemorated Juneteenth on Saturday by turning out and participating in a parade. 

The Austin Independent School District sponsored the annual event that saw dozens of community groups line up at East Martin Luther King Junior and Comal Streets in East Austin before starting their 1.4-mile journey.

Juneteenth celebrates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas back in 1865, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.

Arthur Sneed, the pastor of the South Austin Community Church said Juneteenth also means unity for him.

"Juneteenth means to me progression; it means coming together of people -- not just the African-American people, where obviously the abolition of slavery, that information getting here to Texas, but it also means to me an opportunity to come together to see what we can do together. We are better together," he said.

For 15-year-old, Zia Malangalila, it is a day of celebration as well as remembrance.

"Not that many people know about how I-35 was the barrier and so having a parade like this shows how we can overcome and have fun for a day, and I think that's really cool," she said.

Austinite Andriea Stoglin said her great-great-grandmother was a slave and Juneteenth is a way to honor her legacy.

"It is actually good for everybody to know their history and where they came from, so it's a blessing to see so many people celebrating," she said.

Commemorations will continue on Saturday at 2 p.m. with the Juneteenth Rhythm and Ribs Festival in Round Rock. The free event features live music, games, food and retail vendors. More information can be found on the Round Rock website.


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