Fort Worth’s Parade of Lights was back in person this year and crowds lined the streets of Downtown for the official holiday kickoff. Right at the front, leading the procession was Ms. Opal Lee, a local celebrity turned national icon.
“I never thought it would happen,” said Ms. Lee. “All the years I’ve been coming to the parade, it never dawned on me that I would be part of the parade.”
She wasn’t just a part of the parade. She was named Grand Marshal – fitting for the retired educator and activist who led the charge to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.
Of course, her float had an important message. She partnered with criminal justice reform advocate Dr.Belay Reddick to spread the message “Change is Possible” for justice and equity.
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“It’s a wonderful feeling because everybody deserves a second chance in life. And we can start in our late years of life, or we can start when we’re young,” said Reddick.
To organizers, it was fitting that Ms. Opal Lee would be the shining light at the front of more than 100 illuminated floats.
“I keep telling people that it’s not a me thing, it’s a we thing,” she said.
Opal Lee will make a stop in Dallas next month with the “Change is Possible” 100-city tour.