There is a specific power that comes from telling your own story. No middle man, no filter. That’s freedom. Black Image Center, which celebrated the grand opening of its physical space in May, is a world built on this tenet. Two years ago, six young-ish photographers came together (mostly) on Instagram with the idea to economically and creatively empower Black image makers, storytellers and creatives in L.A. — and a community has surrounded them. They’ve organized, planned, raised funds, thrown activations, braved L.A.’s real estate market and the process to become a nonprofit organization. What’s driven founders Kalena Yiaueki, Maya Mansour, Zamar Velez, Haleigh Nickerson, Samone Kidane and Michael Tyrone Delaney is, at its core, a feeling. It’s the same one they get when they’re behind a camera, preserving family histories or telling the next generation of Black stories. “So much of what Black Image Center is about is taking what we had or what we wish we had and making that an organic thing that we can offer to other people,” says Mansour. Ahead of Juneteenth, Image spoke with the organization’s founders about liberation — how it motivates their work and how they cultivate it in their everyday lives.