Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

(Illustration: Eliot Faine/The Citizen)
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LGBTQIA+ students to be honored at first district-wide Lavender Graduation on May 5

Lavender Graduation, a ceremony honoring LGBTQIA+ students graduating from the four Peralta Community College District (PCCD) campuses, will take place on Friday, May 5, at 3 p.m. in the Laney College Theater Auditorium. The event’s theme, “Rise Up, Stronger Together,” will celebrate the strengths and accomplishments of LGBTQIA+ students.

Program speakers will include Laney College President Rudy Besikoff, PCCD Interim Chancellor Jannett Jackson, and Laney College Gender & Sexuality Alliance President Cyrus Paris. The keynote address will be given by Christián González Reyes, an instructor in the Modern Languages and English departments at Laney College

The ceremony is modeled after similar student group graduation ceremonies at PCCD and throughout the California State University and University of California systems. Attendees of the ceremony will receive a pin, a stoll, and a lavender tassel to wear at their individual campus’s graduation ceremonies later in May. Each graduate will be called by name up to the stage to receive a Certificate of Completion from Laney Student Activities and Campus Life director Atiya Rashada. 

Angela Torres-Moreno of Laney College’s Student Services and Campus Life (SACL) program is leading the organization and planning of the event. She said the support from PCCD faculty, administration, and students has been “super gratifying.” 

Torres-Moreno noted that LGBTQIA+ students are working to overcome multiple social challenges related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression including not being “out” to friends and family members, not feeling comfortable being publicly identified as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, and feeling threatened by anti-LGBTQIA+ statements prevalent in the media and politics. 

Torres-Moreno explained that the SACL declined the district’s offer for video coverage of the event due to these concerns for graduates’ comfort and safety.

In an email response to The Citizen, Mark Johnson, PCCD’s Executive Director of Marketing, Communications, and Public Relations, offered support and congratulations on behalf of Chancellor Jannett Jackson. 

We’re thrilled to see the Laney College Lavender Project and its welcoming spirit of inclusivity for people who identify as LGBTQIA+ spread to the other colleges and look forward to the first district-wide Lavender Graduation celebration on May 5th. Congratulations to everyone who will be participating!” Johnson wrote.

Graduates and their guests were required to register for the event by April 14. Members of the Peralta community and the public interested in supporting Lavender Graduation as event volunteers may contact Angela Torres-Moreno by email, [email protected].

About the Contributor
Timothy Lane
Timothy Lane, Opinion Editor
Known to friends as Tim or “TL”, Timothy Lane was raised in western Massachusetts. His hobbies and passions as a young boy included reading the Encyclopedia Americana and National Geographic at random, studying maps and atlases, and swimming the breaststroke for the Westfield, Mass. YMCA youth swim team. Tim has spent has spent much of the last 30 years as a teacher and scholar shuttling between the US and South Africa: first as a volunteer teacher in a rural high school in the northern Limpopo region of South Africa; then doing oral historical research in those rural communities as well as South African national archives in Pretoria; and since 2003 working with international public health scholars and community organizations throughout the US and South Africa to end the HIV epidemic. He has lived in the Bay Area since 1993, and has called Oakland home since 2015.
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