Many people think of the Fourth of July as America’s celebration of freedom, but for black people our Fourth of July is Juneteenth. On January 1st, 1863 President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, but unfortunately it took more than two years for ALL enslaved black people to be truly free. Juneteenth, to myself, is a celebration of my ancestors who made my life possible, love, and racial equality for all black people. Going back to “black people being truly free”, is still an issue that is prevalent throughout my daily life as a queer black woman. I have endless love for my culture, my people, and my community; but we must address the fact that racial injustice impacts all black and brown folks.The organization Black Voices Albuquerque is a part of a movement not a moment. We are here to create safe spaces for black and brown people within the community, alongside with educating our people, applying pressure on local officials for policy reform, and supporting black owned businesses and communities. With this being said it’s important to reiterate that non Black and non POC are new to this Civil Rights fight; this is a battle of four hundred plus years of injustice, inequality, and blatant murder of our people. As allies you have to educate yourself, your racist friends and family, and continue to educate yourself everyday- it’s not Black or POC’s job to educate you on these issues. It’s truly traumatizing and dehumanizing being black and seeing police murder us in cold blood broadcast on tv daily. I ask that people take a moment to realize that these are real people with real families, children, mothers, siblings etc that are being killed every day. This movement is more than protests, rallies, and shouting. Every slain black person I see murdered by vicious police are people I carry in my heart as if I’ve lost my own family member. I walk the streets of this beautiful city and worry about myself, friends, and my four older brothers who could easily become a victim of these murders. We deserve to be heard; Black Lives Matter, at the bare minimum we MATTER. We are passionate about invoking actual change in our community, as well as nationwide. We don’t want our black and brown children growing up in a world where they’re seen as suspects, before humans and robbed of their innocence, happiness, and childhood because of this broken system. The system must be dismantled, the police must be defunded and abolished. This is a fight that I will go to the ends of the earth for, but this isn’t a fight we can fight alone. We need our non Black and POC to use their platform and advocate for us; not just right now when there’s an abundance of media coverage but everyday. Thank you for giving me this platform to express myself.