Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, commemorates the abolition of slavery in Texas, and more generally the emancipation of African American slaves throughout then Confederate South. This year's theme is "Beyond Resistance: Empowerment Through Education and Civic Engagement."

The event honored four distinguished academic leaders Dr. Horace Mitchell; Dr. Soraya Coley; Dr. William Hagan and incoming UC Davis chancellor Dr. Gary May who have each made strides in their respective roles to educate and empower the next generation.

"This is the largest concentration of African Americans leading institutions of higher education in California in it's history," said Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas. "We celebrate civic engagement of African Americans...voter registration...public policy polling...and public research that focuses on the voter concerns of almost 15 percent of the people of Sacramento and some 10 percent across the state."

The event also included a keynote address from actor and inspirational speaker Gerald River.