INDIANAPOLIS — Community leaders organized the 4th Annual Juneteenth Peace March and Community Celebration.

The federal holiday recognizes the official end to slavery in the United States.

Some of the groups involved were the Indianapolis Black Firefighters Association, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement, and Minority Police Officers Association.

With one foot in front of the other and posters in hand, hundreds paraded proudly to recognize what Juneteenth is all about.

“June 19, 1865, was the very first celebration for Juneteenth, and here we are today able to stand here and celebrate and continue to celebrate,” said Ida Williams with NOBLE.

City officials led the pack from the Indianapolis Fire Department Museum to Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy Park.  

“Everybody here understands and appreciates the fact that, with the stroke of the pen, things didn’t become fair and equal for everyone, and we still have a long way to go,” said Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears.

The Peace March began shortly after the black lives matter movement, as minority public safety workers wanted to have a peaceful demonstration.

“Just because we work for the city doesn’t mean that we don’t have a lot of the same concerns, a lot of the same issues, and a lot of the same fears that we have for our own children,” said Indianapolis Black Firefighters Association President Corey Floyd.

Community leaders said youth groups made up a majority of today’s participants, as they are the future generation to continue the message of equality.  

“It makes me feel super happy that I can be free during this year that I live,” said Hezekiah Humphreys, one of the kids involved in the celebrations.

Organizers hope this event grows year after year with more youth organizations and community members to march along with them.