Honoring Joan Means Khabele


Austin Parks and Recreation hosted a ceremony to honor Joan Means Khabele on Saturday, April 9, 2022 at Barton Springs Pool. After not being allowed to swim at her high school senior picnic, Khabele was the first Black person to jump into Barton Springs Pool in an act of civil disobedience. In doing so, she sparked a movement of swim-ins that took place on a weekly basis throughout the summer of 1960.

A performance by the Smooth and EZ dancers kicked off the ceremony. Parks and Recreation Director Kimberly McNeely was the event MC. Speakers included Mayor Steve Adler, Dr. Larry Wallace, Chief of Staff to Mayor pro tem Natasha Harper-Madison, followed by Council Member Chito Vela, Council Member Ann Kitchen as well as Council Member Paige Ellis who read the City proclamation. Saundra Kirk, Joan’s contemporary, and Inonge Khabele, Joan’s daughter also spoke. Geraldo Perez of the Native American Church performed a water blessing ceremony.


Inonge Khabele speaking at the event to honor her monther

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