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Campus Community Joins Together for Juneteenth

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In commemoration of Juneteenth, UC San Diego hosted an array of events from June 18-21 in celebration of Black culture and history. The campus community joined together at special programs hosted on campus and downtown, ranging from a market showcasing Black-owned businesses to an evening performance on the evolution of Black music. 

Also known as “Freedom Day,” “Emancipation Day” or “Jubilee,” Juneteenth is one of our nation’s oldest celebrations of the abolition of slavery. The federal holiday recognizes the pivotal moment in U.S. history when more than 250,000 slaves in Texas were told that they were free.

From lively concerts to informative panels, the following are some highlights from the four days of celebratory events.

UC San Diego Juneteenth Celebration 2023: A Celebration of Black Art, Music and Community

Shoppers browse a booth.
Juneteenth activities kicked off on June 18 at UC San Diego Park & Market, the university's state-of-the-art building that has become a social and intellectual hub for civic engagement, learning and collaboration. Campus and community members gathered at the downtown space for a daylong event filled with special activities, such as a Black-owned business market, live music and more. 
Business market vendors.
The market featured a variety of local businesses offering items such as beauty supplies, clothing, jewelry and more. Attendees had the opportunity to browse the booths, learning about companies such as the San Diego Black LGBTQ Coalition and Mitris Delights.
Dalesean Lynch
Among the businesses featured were shirts and hats from Walk Away No Drama Today, founded by Dalesean Lynch. As a former foster youth, Lynch has embarked on a journey to share his life experiences in order to break the cycle of dysfunctional thinking patterns and promote positivity.
DJ at a computer.
Attendees enjoyed a wide array of music at the UC San Diego Park & Market event, including a live DJ set.
Event panel and audience.
A panel discussion was hosted exploring the meaning of liberation in the 21st century, moderated by Loren Cobbs, founder of SD Melanin. Among the panelists were Dr. Helen V. Griffith, executive director of The Preuss School UC San Diego; Bruce Mayberry, chairman of the County of San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce board; Brisa Johnson, director of the San Diego Black Worker Center; Blake Dye, CEO of the SMPL Collective; and Marisol “Dottie” Dothard, UC San Diego biomedical sciences Ph.D. student. 
Panel event during the Juneteenth event at UC San Diego Park & Market.
During the panel, event attendees had the opportunity to ask questions and join in the conversation.
The A-Squad performers on stage.
The event was free and open to the public, featuring live music throughout the day. Among the local artists showcased was the A-Squad. 
Soul Sunday performers.
The festivities concluded with a performance by Soul Sunday, spotlighting a selection of talented local neo-soul, funk and jazz artists.
Crowd of people enjoying a performance.
UC San Diego Park & Market was filled with attendees dancing along to the final performance of the celebration.

San Diego Black Artist Collective Presents: Get On Board

Singer on stage points out to the crowd.
Get On Board was showcased at the Epstein Family Amphitheater on June 19, offering audience members an evening performance centered around the evolution of Black music. 
Photos by Anthony Tran/UC San Diego.
Performers on stage.
The performance was presented by the San Diego Black Artist Collective. The group’s mission is to facilitate a foundation of support and resources that provides a sense of community, a safe haven and a sanctuary for artist development. 
A group of artists stand on stage.
The San Diego Black Artist Collective describes Get On Board as a celebration of Black excellence, as well as a platform to share Black history, inspire others and promote positive change. 
Left: Three performers on stage. Right: Man stands singing on stage, with additional singers in the background.
The San Diego Black Artist Collective is committed to supporting Black artists in San Diego. Over a dozen artists took part in the performance, including dancers, singers and musicians. 
Dancer kicks his leg in the air.
Get On Board presented a diverse range of artistic expressions including visual art, performance art, music and more. 
Crowd in the amphitheater.
Guests cheered and waved their phone lights in unity during powerful moments of Get on Board.
Epstein Family Amphitheater in rainbow colors.
During the evening, the Epstein Family Amphitheater glowed in the colors of the rainbow while artists performed on stage. 

3rd Annual Juneteenth Celebration and Black Excellence Awards

Attendees at the 3rd Annual Juneteenth Celebration and Black Excellence Awards.
On June 20, UC San Diego’s Black Staff Association hosted the 3rd Annual Juneteenth Celebration and Black Excellence Awards. This year’s theme was “Hip Hop, Liberation & Kujichagulia,” inviting attendees to learn more about the impact of the music genre as well as the history of Juneteenth. 
Photos by Daniel Orren/UC San Diego.
Posters displayed at the event.
Students, staff, faculty and community members gathered at Price Center East Ballroom for the annual program, which featured an afternoon filled with soul food, opportunities to win prizes and more. This year’s event was also a celebration of hip-hop's 50th anniversary. Throughout the venue, music memorabilia and posters shared information about significant figures and historical moments.
Teye Sa Thiosanne African Drum & Dance Company
UC San Diego staff and students were treated with a performance from the Teye Sa Thiosanne African Drum & Dance Company. The performers filled the room with the sounds of traditional African drums, encouraging attendees to clap along to the beat. 
Pamela Gray-Payton, Vice President and Chief Impact and Partnerships Officer at San Diego Foundation. 
The event also featured an awards ceremony, recognizing Black Excellence across the university community. The inaugural Hollis Gentry III Community Service Award was given to Pamela Gray-Payton, who serves as the Vice President and Chief Impact and Partnerships Officer at San Diego Foundation. 
Awardees on stage.
Left: The UC San Diego Black Staff Association established The Nguza Saba Award as part of the annual event. Honorees are nominated by the Black Staff Association Executive Board for embodying Kwanzaa principles. This year’s awardees include John Rawlins III, Dr. Crystal Cene, LaWana Richmond, Ed.D., Keiara Auzenne and Roberta Camarena. Additional honorees not in attendance include King Britt and Dr. Audra Meadows. 
Right: Tori Bussey-Neal, Ellington Jones and C. Kahalifa King were given the “I Am Black Excellence '' award at the event. Awardees not in attendance include Sheldon Williams and Dennis Childs, Ph.D. Individuals are nominated by the Black Staff Association Executive Board for honoring their contributions, outstanding achievements and commitment to the Black Staff Association. 
Barbara Jackson being awarded on stage.
Barbara Jackson was given the Special Recognition award. This award is for retirees who have achieved their final career milestone and also recognizes their significant contributions to the Black Staff Association and equity, diversity and inclusion efforts at the university that work to improve the Black experience. Additional awardees not in attendance include Vice Chancellor for Resource Management and Planning Gary Matthews and Wayne Farquharson.
Dancers from the Teye Sa Thiosanne African Drum & Dance Company.
Dancers from the Teye Sa Thiosanne African Drum & Dance Company took to the stage to showcase traditional West African song, music and dance. Teye Sa Thiosanne means keepers of the tradition in the Senegalese Wolof language.
Teye Sa Thiosanne African Drum & Dance Company on stage with event attendees.
To close out the event, campus community members joined the Teye Sa Thiosanne African Drum & Dance Company on stage to learn how to move along with the traditional music. 
Attendees dancing on stage.
Attendees laughed, smiled and cheered each other on as the professional dancers led the way. 
Photo booth images featuring event attendees.
Event attendees took snapshots in the photo booth, posing with props like hats and boomboxes.

Enhancing the Black Student Experience Symposium Closing Activity & Workshop

Speaker at podium.
The university rounded out its commemoration of Juneteenth with the Enhancing the Black Student Experience symposium. The daylong event on June 21 featured programming designed to begin conversations on how decolonization might enhance the Black student experience at UC San Diego.
Photos provided by Breana Clark.
Keynote speaker Professor Stephen Quaye takes picture with event participants.
Keynote speaker Professor Stephen Quaye from The Ohio State University takes a picture with event participants. As part of the closing activity, Quaye facilitated a workshop centered on reimagining how to support Black students. 

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