First Annual NYC Juneteenth March

30 images Created 21 Jun 2020

I went to the first Annual Juneteenth March in New York City held in the vicinity of City Hall with the expectation to cover a rally in celebration of what the 19th of June sought to celebrate for African Americans in the United States. When New York City does anything for the first time, it is usually big, and I thought there would be thousands of black New Yorkers amassed around the City Hall and its adjacent park. It was scheduled from 2-5 p.m., and I arrived at 12:30 to get a good vantage spot. I expected huge signage, a stage, with chairs for prominent politicians, activists, and perhaps some celebrities, seating for VIP guests and the much feared, armada of the New York press. And, a large police presence. Instead, to my huge disappointment, only two microphones were on the sidewalk for one organization, and a few others disseminating information about their causes.

The march was comprised of the Malcom X and the Black Panthers, Black Lives Matter and several other progressive organizations. They were in tight formation, and chanting: “Who’s Streets, Our streets! “No Justice, No Peace!” some anti police statements, and a call to free and a long imprisoned Black Panther, and “Black Lives Matter! The police did not escort the group nor followed behind, a direct indication that the Mayor instructed them not to interfere to avoid another fracas and mass arrests.

The Malcom X speaker explained how when they say: ”Who’s Streets, Our Streets” how this is achieved. It is achieved by staying in an orderly procession of two abreast and on the designated side of the street the police have allowed to March. Given their obeying the policy of the NYPD, they can march peacefully and protest their cause.
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