CSULB and CSU celebrate Juneteenth with special events

Published June 10, 2022

Juneteenth, which became a federal holiday in 2021, commemorates the day – June 19, 1865  when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, finally received word of their emancipation. It was more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863. 

This year, Cal State Long Beach, as well as the California State University, are sponsoring events in recognition of the day. 

The Beach is partnering with the City of Long Beach for its 2nd Annual Juneteenth Celebration on June 18 at Rainbow Lagoon Park. The daylong event will feature music, booth, food and fellowship. 

The festival centerpiece will be a main stage, with performances by local musicians, dancers and DJs. The headliner will be singer-songwriter Marsha Ambrosius of the R&B duo Floetry. Throughout the day will be performances by R&B and jazz artists that include Rahsaan Patterson, Katalyst Jazz and Gee Mack and Asia Ray.

The main stage will also feature traditional African drum performances, a concert by the Antioch Mass Gospel Choir, a step show by members of The Beach’s Black sororities and fraternities, a drum line and more.

The CSU, in collaboration with Cal State Dominguez Hills, is hosting the Inaugural Juneteenth Symposium, entitled “By Any Means Necessary: Synthesizing the Voices of Our Ancestors and Everyday People.”

The two-day event, set for June 15 and June 16, will be livestreamed and features a line-up of national figures and scholars, including:

  • Dr. Cornel West, a prominent democratic intellectual, philosopher, author and activist who has taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, the University of Paris and his alma maters, Harvard and Princeton.
  • Dr. Edward Bush, president of Cosumnes River College in Sacramento and co-founder and board member of the nationally recognized non-profit African American Male Educational Network & Development Inc., which is dedicated to improving outcomes for men of color enrolled in California's community colleges.
  • Isaac Alferos, president of the Cal State Student Association who was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in July 2020 to serve as the next CSAC student representative, where he currently oversees financial aid for all 3 million students in California and continues to push for equitable investment into California students.
  • Dr. J. Luke Wood, vice president of Student Affairs & Campus Diversity, Dean's Distinguished Professor of Education and co-director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab (CCEAL) at San Diego State, where his research focuses on factors affecting the success of boys and men of color in education. 
  • Dr. Jolene Koester, Interim Chancellor of the CSU who, during her tenure as CSU Northridge president, increased retention and graduation rates, and conferred more than 68,000 degrees.
  • Dr. Michael Brown, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of California, who has published book chapters and articles focused on the cultural variables underlying career and educational choices, particularly among racial and ethnic minorities and women.
  • Michele Bratcher Goodwin, a Chancellor's Professor and founding director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy at UC Irvine who is widely published in legal journals and credited with helping to shape the health law field.
  • Dr. Shaun Harper, a business professor, chair in Urban Leadership and executive director of the Race and Equity Center at the University of Southern California who teaches MBA students and advises CEOs and leaders on diversity, equity and inclusion strategy.
  • Dr. Soraya M. Coley, president of Cal Poly Pomona whose career has been marked by efforts to eliminate obstacles that prevent people from reaching their potential in society.
  • Dr. Tyrone Howard, a professor of education in the School of Education & Information Studies at UCLA, who has focused his research on issues of race, culture, access and educational opportunity for minoritized student populations.

There will be breakout sessions and think-tank discussions designed to engage in-person attendees in building plans to promote social justice and eliminate equity gaps for African American students across the CSU.

The symposium is one of many systemwide and campus programs designed to engage and support Black students in their pursuit of college success, prosperity and self-fulfillment.  

The biennial symposium was first envisioned by CSU student leaders who, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, looked to take purposeful action to combat anti-Black racism, foster authentic intercultural dialogue and highlight the legacies and contributions of the African American community.