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The Lavender and Multicultural Graduation Celebration

By: Jacquelyn Smiley

The Lavender and Multicultural Graduation Celebration was hosted on May 5 by the Center for Student Involvement (CSI), the fifth year at Adelphi for an event that is starting to be celebrated at campuses across the nation. While this celebration does not replace this month’s Commencement ceremony, it is a chance for underrepresented students to receive their recognition for their time at the University. The Lavender and Multicultural Graduate Celebration celebrates and recognizes graduating students who identify as part of or an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community, the multicultural, College Science Advancement Program (CSTEP) and mentoring communities. Students were given the opportunity to sign up for this celebration on MyAuLife before May 1.

Diversity and Inclusion are core values at Adelphi, which is why in lieu of in-person events, the Lavender and Multicultural graduation celebration was held virtually to celebrate the accomplishments of graduating LGBTQIA+ and multicultural students. Image from the Adelphi website.

The ceremony was virtual on Zoom and included several speakers for a total of 65 people with 22 of them being students. Speakers included Chotsani West-Williams, the executive director of Diversity Equity and Inclusion; Anna Zinko, the assistant dean for Students and Community Engagement; Martha Giraldo-Romano, CSTEP assistant director; Sentwali Bakari, vice president of Student Affairs and dean of students; and Jacqueline Jones LaMon, vice president for Diversity Equity and Inclusion. With messages centering around equity, equality and unity the Lavender and Multicultural Celebration helped to give each individual department the recognition that they may not receive when it comes to everyday living.

The color lavender is a symbol in the LGBTQIA+ community. With the combination of pink and black, men in concentration camps during the Holocaust were forced to wear these colors, so the gay community reclaimed it in the late 1960s.

Senior Teddy-Ann Miles said of the celebration: “It’s important because it highlights our differences. Oftentimes we celebrate our similarities, but differences are what makes us beautiful. Multicultural excellence should always be highlighted.”

Senior Kelsie Lewis said, “ Sometimes as a student at a predominantly white institution (PWI), you can feel like you are invisible and your struggles aren’t heard. The Lavender ceremony helps students know that their peers, the administration and faculty care about them and are proud of their accomplishments.”

The celebration was able to include the people who have helped the students throughout their undergraduate career. As a gift from the Student Government Association, diploma frames will be sent to everyone who signed up to participate in the ceremony.

To end the ceremony, Alexa Grosskreuz, CSI senior director, said, “Adelphi's Lavender and Multicultural Graduate Celebration was a moving and impactful evening recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of 22 of our LGBTQIA+ students and allies, multicultural students and students in CSTEP and the Mentoring Program. Our honorees are dedicated, resilient individuals and I cannot wait to see what they accomplish next.”

When given a chance to unmute at the end of the ceremony, everyone gave a round of applause to the graduating class of 2021.

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