Kean University in New Jersey recently held its first Lavender Graduation this year, an event to honor LGBTQ graduates on campus.
As Kean University’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion said in a statement, “Lavender Graduation does not replace the general University commencement. This is something additional.”
“It’s another way that we can show that we care about these students, who can be marginalized and discriminated against,” they explain. “We want to promote a campus that honors all identities and empowers our students to live authentically. We believe that recognizing the achievements of all sectors of our community is important as we continue to climb higher.”
The ceremony, which unfortunately had to be held online this year because of Covid-19, will now be repeated annually.
“In future years, we plan for the participation to grow into a ceremony intended to be in person or hybrid when we return to campus,” the statement said.
The story of Lavender Graduations goes back several years when Dr. Ronni Sanlo could not attend her children’s graduation because of her sexual orientation.
This awful experience gave this lesbian mom the desire to change things so, in 1995, this former director of the University of Michigan’s resource center organized the first Lavender Graduation honoring LGBTQ graduates, much like the African Heritage Graduation Ceremony.
Since then, many universities like Kean University have joined the movement and hold annual Lavender Graduations across the United States.