The celebration acknowledges the graduation of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and their allies through a culturally meaningful celebration and through the presentation of a symbolic Kente Cloth to wear at commencement.
Kente Cloth Meaning
The colors of the cloth each hold symbolism: gold = status/serenity, yellow = fertility, green = renewal, blue = pure spirit/harmony, red = passion, black = union with ancestors/spiritual awareness.
Lavender Celebration is a commencement ceremony honoring graduating LGBTQ+ and allied students. It is a cultural celebration that acknowledges the achievements and contributions that students of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions have made at SUNY Morrisville.
Lavender Cord Meaning
Lavender is important to LGBTQ history. It is a combination of the pink triangle that gay men were forced to wear in concentration camps and the black triangle designating lesbians as political prisoners in Nazi Germany. The LGBTQ civil rights movement took these symbols of hatred and combined them to make symbols and color of pride and community.
Diversity, Justice, Equity & Inclusion Awards
The Sheila Johnson Award
Sheila Johnson is an American entrepreneur and co-founder of the BET (Black Entertainment Television). Using BET as a platform, Sheila Johnson went on to create programs such as the groundbreaking “Teen Summit,” a show that represents her dedication to pursuing projects that promote female empowerment. In 2006 Johnson was named Global Ambassador for CARE, the organization is known as a leader in fighting world poverty by empowering women.
This award goes to graduating students who demonstrates tireless devotion to community service that aims at improving the lives of people in their community, whether the SUNY Morrisville community or their home community.
The Discurso Award
Discurso in Spanish means speech.
This award goes to graduating students who demonstrate courage and speaks out in the face of opposition.
This award is given to graduating students who identify as BIPOC who have preserved during their college years and found success at SUNY Morrisville. It is critical to note that success comes in all varieties: in the classroom, in student clubs and organizations, on an athletic team, to name a few.
Percy Julian Young Scientist Award
Percy Julian Young Scientist Award: Repeatedly through his life, Percy Julian, the grandson of a slave, remained committed to his pursuit of knowledge and research in chemistry despite significant obstacles.
This award goes to a graduating BIPOC student in a STEM field who remains tenacious and committed to the pursuit of knowledge.
Juan Gonzalez Media Activism Award
Juan Gonzalez Media Activism Award: As an independent journalist and co-host of Democracy Now!, Gonzalez offers a model of participatory democracy through alternative media that raises the bar for diversity issues.
This award goes to graduating students who exemplify dedication and diligence in media activism on our campus.
The LGBTQIA+ Bridge Award
Bridge Award: This award recognizes student excellence and commitment in building connections between the LGBTQIA+ community and broader student life.
Examples of building connections may include:
- Program/Event planning, Speaking on LGBTQIA+ issues at events (conferences, programs, etc.)
- Educational engagement on campus (in the classroom, research, etc.)
- Social engagement on campus (student organization involvement, leadership roles, etc.)
- Community service Connections of broader student life.
Ally Award Recognizes graduating students for their important contributions as a (heterosexual and cisgender) friend and ally of the LGBTQIA+ community. Honorees may have:
- Raised awareness and participated in activism; OR
- Provided both a safe space and a voice for LGBTQIA+ issues at SUNY Morrisville.
ALLY Award for Faculty/Staff
Faculty/Staff Award Recognizes a faculty or staff member for outstanding dedication and leadership to our community through their actions, their service, and through commitment to creating a safe space for all.
They may be raising awareness of LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, first-gen, or other DEI issues through educational initiatives, sponsoring events, or standing up to bias.
Fuerza Award for Faculty/Staff
“Fuerza” means force or strength that is used to create big change in people or systems.
This award goes to someone who has taken action to help create change within our community in respect to DEI initiatives.