top of page

Ventura County's 38th Annual


“Empowerment Through Education: Paving the Path to Equity and Understanding



2024 Observance and Celebration

8:00 AM  "Freedom March"


From: Plaza Park, 5th Street and C Street, Oxnard, CA

To: Oxnard Performing Arts Center (OPAC)


Transportation provided from the Oxnard Performing Arts Center to Plaza Park beginning at 7:30 AM

Cost: Free

9:00 AM  Observance Program


“Empowerment Through Education: Paving the Path to Equity and Understanding” 


Keynote Speaker: Dr. Irene G. Pinkard, Director of the Pinkard Youth Institute

Location: Oxnard Performing Arts Center (OPAC)

800 Hobson Way, Oxnard, CA 93030


$10 admission includes refreshments and vendor exhibits
Tickets may be purchased from MLK Committee members, at the door, or online.

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Irene G. Pinkard
Executive Director, Pinkard Youth Institute

Dr. Irene Pinkard, Executive Director of the Pinkard Youth Institute (a nonprofit organization), served on the Oxnard Board of Trustees for 10 years and was the first woman elected to the Oxnard City Council in 20 years and the first African American female.  She served as Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Oxnard and is a well-known educator and community leader. 


Dr. Pinkard worked in the Los Angeles Community College District for over 20 years before moving to Ventura County.  During her tenure in the Los Angeles Community College District, she served as Executive Assistant to the Chancellor, Dean, Assistant Dean, Career Center Director, coordinator, counselor, and instructor before taking a position as Dean of Continuing Education at Oxnard College in 1992.  Pinkard served 10 years in the Ventura County Community College District and retired as Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources.


Dr. Pinkard co-founded the Ventura County Chapter of BAPAC (Black American Political Association of California) with her late husband and served as Chairperson of the Ventura Chapter.  Dr. Pinkard is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Theta Alpha Omega Chapter, life-time member of the Ventura NAACP where she recently received the Pioneer Award and is a board member for the CSUCI Foundation.  She has sponsored and/or conducted Black College Tours for over 30 years for young people throughout Ventura County and is an Associate member of the 20th Century Onyx Club.

Pinkard is a member of Grant A.M.E. Church Los Angeles and a realtor with Keller Williams Coastal Properties in Long Beach.


Dr. Pinkard was voted the Ventura College Outstanding Administrator in 1998 and 1999, received a “Community Hero Award” from the Ventura County Diversity Board in 1998 and has been named Woman of the Year for two Assembly Districts:  the 37th Assembly District in 1999 and the 44th Assembly District in 2021.


Dr. Pinkard received a Community Leader Award from California State University, Channel Islands where she coordinates an African American Enrichment Academy for African American high school students sponsored by the Pinkard Youth Institute.  It is a partnership with Oxnard Union High School District and California State University, Channel Islands.  Students live on campus for a week, take classes and receive high school and/or college credit for the courses.   Dr. Pinkard and her late husband, Bedford, have a program at CSUCI named in their honor—Bedford & Dr. Irene Pinkard Living-Learning Community. 


Dr. Pinkard graduated from California State University, Long Beach, with a Bachelor’s

Degree in Business and a Master’s in Counseling.  She received her Doctoral Degree from Nova University, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, in Educational Psychology.  In 2020, Dr. Pinkard received an honorary doctorate from California State University, Channel Islands in Humanities.

2024 MLK Presenting Sponsors
Gold Coast Composite Logo 2020.png
bottom of page