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“Juneteenth, to me, is a reminder. I don’t think much has changed. There really wasn’t a lot of freedom given. There’s a lot more that needs to be done.” – Inshallah, a New Yorker at the intersection of Myrtle and Broadway in Brooklyn organized by Paperboy Prince, an artist and candidate for U.S. Congress NY-7. Photographed by Serichai Traipoom for W magazine.
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“Juneteenth, to me, is not just about recognizing Black history. It’s about American history and sometimes looking at the ugly truth. That’s a part of recognizing and then moving forward in a positive direction, which I think is starting to happen now. I know for many people this is the first time they’ve heard of Juneteenth and its historical significance. We need to look at the past of slavery and see how it’s now manifested—how institutional racism is a platform for the prison industrial complex, and the military industrial complex. As Michelle Alexander wrote in her book The New Jim Crow, these are the new ways of slavery. We need to look at our laws, at the constitution, at the 13th Amendment, and understand that we need to make a change and that we have a long way to go. That’s really what Juneteenth is about.” – Nana-Adwoa, a New Yorker at Juneteenth Jam, a protest and celebration at the intersection of Myrtle and Broadway in Brooklyn organized by Paperboy Prince, an artist and candidate for U.S. Congress NY-7. Photographed by Serichai Traipoom for W magazine.
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“Juneteenth, to me, is a celebration of our history, while also recognizing that we have a rich history as a people. We have a history that is built through a resilience and a struggle and still we rise in the midst of that. It’s about reclaiming the narrative about our lives and stories and that our children can see the other side of history which is the joy which always cometh in the morning, and in the midst of struggle. We are happy to be out here and celebrating black history and black culture, and doing it in a sustainable way.” – Chelsea (left). “I’ve been saying this for the longest time. We were not free on July 4th, so why do we celebrate July 4th? I asked my parents this question when I was in elementary and middle school. What does July 4th mean to us? Juneteenth is our day of freedom and celebration. My family comes from Mississippi and Arkansas, my grandfather was born in the first free town of Mound Bayou Mississippi.” – Niahlah (right). Both New Yorkers at Juneteenth: A Celebration of Black Joy, a rally in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, organized by the creators of Afrochella and Freedom March NYC. Photographed by Serichai Traipoom for W magazine.