CSUMB, city of Seaside, and community groups collaborate on Juneteenth

Da'ja Robinson and Tinisha Dunn-Alcantara

Da'ja Robinson (left) and Tinisha Dunn-Alcantara in Seaside | Photo by Brent Dundore-Arias

June 13, 2024

By Walter Ryce

[Editorial: this story was updated on June 18]

Cal State Monterey Bay was a sponsor, along with the host city of Seaside, of the fifth annual Juneteenth Jubilee on Saturday, June 15, at Laguna Grande Park in Seaside. 

This year, the outdoor, family-friendly, festival welcomed actor, producer and activist Danny Glover as a special guest speaker. He was joined by hundreds of community folks, as well as local Black businesses, other guest speakers, food vendors and elected officials to enjoy music, entertainment, history and cultural touchstones, a kids zone and a crowning ceremony. 

Bay Area rapper and producer Mistah Fab headlined the entertainment. Seaside’s mayor Ian Oglesby, city council member and CSUMB alum Alexis Garcia-Arraloza, and Seaside elder and community leader Helen Rucker, were in attendance. 

Juneteenth has been celebrated in Seaside for many years, but it saw a resurgence after the upwelling of protest and activism sparked by the killing of George Floyd in 2020. It’s organized by the Monterey County Black Caucus, which is part of the Action Council and Building Healthy Communities.

Tinisha Dunn-Alcantara is a coordinator and program director for the event, and the narrative and communications manager for the Black Caucus. 

“CSUMB has been showing up in several ways in the past five years,” Dunn-Alcantara said, including through volunteers, promotion, tabling and financial support. 

The university’s Helen Rucker Center for Black Excellence and the Office of Inclusive Excellence helped promote the event, the Office of the President lent financial support, and students from the Black Student Union helped set up, break down and run the kids zone, which was located across a closed off Canyon Del Rey Boulevard on the lawn of city hall. 

Da’ja Robinson, administrative support coordinator for the Helen Rucker Center and the Black power-building organizer for the Black Caucus, said that the intergenerational and multicultural event has grown its audience to more than 500 attendees, 50 local businesses and had more than 20 organizations tabling. 

“We aimed to deliver a day filled with live musical performances, electrifying DJ sets, a designated kid’s zone and endless entertainment,” Robinson said. 

Angela Maggott, CSUMB lecturer and co-director of the Helen Rucker Center for Black Excellence, was there with Cinematic Arts lecturer Yhashika Lee representing the Helen Rucker Center and its STEAM Summer Camp for high schoolers. She said the planning for the Juneteenth Jubilee worked out great, the common theme was “Stronger Together” (which aligns with CSUMB’s new slogan “The Strength of Us”) and noted a synergy among generations young and old. 

“Most importantly it was amazing to hear Mr. Glover’s remarks be so well received: ‘Your vote counts, get out and vote!’ This message echos and underscores the life’s work of so many, including Mrs. Helen Rucker,” Maggott said.  

Juneteenth commemorates the 19th of June in 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger and his troops finally arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of slavery — more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation had abolished it. 

June 19 has since been considered Black Americans’ Emancipation Day, and in 2021 President Biden signed it into a national holiday. It's celebrated on June 19, during which the CSUMB campus is closed. 

The CSU system also commemorated the day. On June 13 and 14, the CSU hosted its second biennial Juneteenth Symposium, with special guests Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones and award-winning author Ibram X. Kendi. 

A video archive is available on the CSU website.  

That was augmented by the news that the Chancellor’s Office has awarded $4.6 million across the 23 CSUs to advance Black student success. CSUMB has received $250,000. 

“The Black Student Success grant will enable the university to strengthen and expand the services, programs and initiatives that exist to support the recruitment, retention, persistence and overall success of Black students at CSUMB,” said Brian Corpening, associate vice president for Inclusive Excellence and chief diversity officer. 

Elizabeth Mihopoulos, CSUMB’s assistant vice president of Enrollment Management, said that representatives from the Admissions department were also in attendance at Saturday’s event, imparting information and recruiting new students. 

The 5th annual Juneteenth Jubilee was free to all. If you missed that one, another local celebration, Salinas Juneteenth, with involvement by CSUMB alumni, takes place at Hartnell College in Salinas from 1 - 5:30 p.m. Saturday, June 22.