Opal Lee's 2024 Walk for Freedom held in Dallas

"I am thankful that they are walking, and I am thankful that they are thinking about others," Ms. Opal Lee said.

dallas, Texas — When Ms. Opal Lee hosted her annual Walk for Freedom in Dallas, it was her first time doing it away from her hometown of Fort Worth. 

 The 97-year-old Texas civil rights leader laced up her shoes on June 19 to lead the 2.5-mile walk with people from all over North Texas.

"I am thankful that they are walking, and I am thankful that they are thinking about others," Ms. Opal Lee said.

Fort Worth resident Tranel Jones brought her sister to Dallas, who had never participated in the Walk for Freedom. They are among the people who knew about Ms. Opal's plea for Forth Worth residents to participate in the walk despite it being hosted in another city. 

"I have done it once before in Fort Worth," said Tranel, "This is my first time in Dallas, so, my sister asked, are y'all going to go?"

His sister Daisy said she was excited because the 2-point-5-mile walk symbolizes the 2-and-a-half years it took for news of freedom to reach the enslaved people in Texas. 

"The weather is cooperating. So, we are just going to have a very good time," said Daisy Jones, "This is my first time and I am very excited."

Ms. Opal's granddaughter explained why hosting the walk at the African American Museum of Dallas is just a start because they have plans to host the march in Washington, DC in 2026.

"We are making a tour around the country because Juneteenth represents freedom not just for Texans, but for the nation," said Dione Sims.

Fort Worth police officers Tracy Carter and Brad Perez are among the law enforcement team that escorted Ms. Opal to Dallas for the event. During the previous freedom walks, Ms. Opal had FWPD officers walking with her including Police Chief Neil Noakes. This year, Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia and a host of his officers did the walk with Ms. Opal. 

"The city of Dallas, Dallas police department is honored that she blessed us with walking in our city and with us today," Chief Garcia said.

The Walk for Freedom drew all ages, civic organizations, and people from different backgrounds. Moving the walk to a new location also got the attention of Dallas native and Grammy Award winner Erykah Badu. She told the hundreds of people in attendance Wednesday why she was impressed by Ms. Opal.

"We have to protect Ms. Opal," said Erykah Badu, "Because not only does she talk the talk, she walks the walk."

Ms. Opal believes walking together is also a big step towards freedom. 

"We need to be united," Ms. Opal Lee said, "For us to survive."

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