NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -Thousands marched through Brooklyn on Friday in celebration of Juneteenth and to continue the calls for change.

“Last year on June 19th, this didn’t happen. This year, it happened, but it’s sad that a death, and deaths of black people, caused this to happen,” said 19-year-old Yahshiyah Vines.

CBS2’s Kevin Rincon reports Vines helped organize a protest following the death of George Floyd that wound up attracting thousands.

“To all the people who disagree with the protesting, just come outside and walk with us one day to see what it’s really like,” said Vines.

The demonstrations have lead to changes: police reform bills passed by the state legislature and the city council.

MORE: Gov. Cuomo Says Massive Statewide Police Reform Initiative Will Be Implemented By April 1, 2021

“Everywhere you look and everywhere you see racism is being torn down in high and low places,” said Council Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo. “When you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Even though Juneteenth is a celebration, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said there is still work to do.

“Racism is built and hard wired in the DNA in the American experience, and if we don’t change the rewiring of our brain and every system of government, then we just went through a frivolous exercise, and like hell are we gonna let that happen,” said Adams.

GEORGE FLOYD PROTESTS

Many of the people marching through Brooklyn said they intend to speak out in hopes of seeing continued change.

“There should be no reason why we’re celebrating the freedom of African American people, yet we’re still fighting and screaming their names and demanding justice for them,” said Ezra Penn.

MORE: CLICK HERE for a list of events across the tri-state honoring the liberation of the last slaves in America

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