My first Juneteenth was on the frontlines

What’s the day? Juneteenth. 

What do we want? Peace! 

When do we want it? Now!

And if we don’t get it? Shut it down!

The longtime African American celebration of independence known as Juneteenth, was thrust into mainstream America’s consciousness a month ago. Amid the eruption of protests against the country’s brutal treatment of Black citizens, the people birthed a national holiday.

While legislative bodies debate if Juneteenth will become a federally observed day, the celebrations filled the streets. From food to family gatherings to festivals and even meetings to meditate on the meanings of freedom, Dana Neacsu chose to follow the strain of active resistance.

During this year’s commemoration on June 19, hundreds of thousands carried on the annual tradition of protesting. Throughout the US, demonstrations occurred on the Washington DC mall to numerous seaports—all challenging the brutal legacy of racism and injustice. Neacsu documented her first Juneteenth celebration in NYC, as she demonstrated for peace. Neacsu participated in Ark Republic’s roundtables asking protesters about their experiences, and how they see real change in America.

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