Break the Chains with Love March Commemorates Juneteenth

Organizer Valarie Walker (left) spearheaded the second annual Break the Chains with Love Juneteenth March.
Donna Aceto

The second annual Break the Chains with Love March was held on June 19 in commemoration of Juneteenth.

Under the theme “Justice is Love,” More than 150 people stepped off from Brooklyn Bridge Park and marched through Dumbo and over the Brooklyn Bridge. Marchers then paid their respects at the African Burial Ground before concluding at City Hall.

Accompanied first by drummers Fogu Azul and subsequently by an amplified playlist of love and freedom, they marched, danced, and cheered from Brooklyn to Manhattan. It was a small but mighty celebration of Juneteenth organized by Valarie Walker, who spearheaded last year’s march. Other Dyke March members were also involved in the organizing effort behind last year’s inaugural march.

Walker said in an interview with Gay City News last year that she thought of the idea behind the march when she was talking with a white friend who was not sure how to respond to last summer’s protest movement.

“He recognized he could turn off the news media and get a break from it without fear, so he understood his privileges,” Walker said last June. “I felt so much love for him in that moment and I realized, ‘Wow, love is going to be my way.’ I had felt anger, rage, and retaliation, and that’s not really me. Soon, the idea of love hit my brain.”

Paying homage at the African Burial Ground.Donna Aceto
Marshall Alexis Danzig spreads the word.Donna Aceto
Fogo Azul sets the beat during the march.Donna Aceto
In accordance with the theme, love leads the way.Donna Aceto
The group makes their way over the Brooklyn Bridge.Donna Aceto