WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Ahead of numerous planned marches, rallies and protests in honor of Juneteenth, dozens of people hit the streets Thursday, while others were planning for the gatherings happening around the district Friday.
Dozens of protesters marched through the Trinidad community calling for change, including a stop to gun violence.
DC Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie joined the gathering and said it was important to show solidarity on the issue.
"We have these types of events to bring people together, to say put your guns down, lift each other up," McDuffie said. "We want to let folks know that this is a priority for our community.”
Aside from the demonstration, "Showing Up for Racial Justice DC" organizers held a webinar to go over plans for Friday's Juneteenth protest plans.
The group, which encourages the white community to raise awareness about racial justice, explained to listeners the importance of letting Black protesters lead chants and to not provoke police officers during the gatherings.
"Tomorrow is historic -- I think getting in the streets is crucial," member Hayden Mora said. " Juneteenth is an opportunity and a moment where the movement for Black lives is leading. Black folks are leading that struggle. It’s in our interest to be a part of that.”
The virtual discussion also noted the importance of staying safe, going with a friend to the events, and taking precautions to combat the spread of coronavirus.
Above all, Mora said that it was crucial for members of the white community to show support for civil rights causes.
"Coming out, being on the streets, being in solidarity is a matter of showing up in a way that can redefine what’s possible for all of our communities," he said. "To make this sort of change we’ve got to be doing it collectively.”