Cultural Graduation Ceremonies Celebrate Diverse Student Identities

May 2, 2019

The 18th Annual Latinx Graduation will kick off Whittier College’s 2019 Commencement festivities.

The ceremony is an intimate bilingual celebration where faculty, staff, family, friends, and community members come together to highlight the achievements and personal success of graduating seniors, in the spirit and traditions of Latinx cultures. Student affairs professional, consultant, and president of the California Council of Cultural Centers in Higher Education Marcela Ramirez-Stapleton will serve as the keynote speaker for this ceremony. The Latinx Graduation ceremony will take place at the Harris Amphitheatre on Saturday, May 11, from 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. 

The cultural graduations, organized by the Office of Equity and Inclusion, offer graduating students a space rich with cultural traditions and inspire pride and respect for students’ cultural identities. The festivities will continue during the week with the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Graduation, Lavender (LGBTQ+) Graduation, and Black Graduation.

The API graduation honors the academic and personal achievements of graduating students of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. This year’s ceremony will feature diverse API cultural performances, and native Hawaiian alumna and senior management analyst at the Los Angeles Superior Court, Melanie Abe ’10, as the keynote speaker. The API Graduation ceremony will be held on Monday, May 13 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Campus Center Courtyard.

The Lavender Graduation honors the achievements and contributions of graduating students who identify as members and/or allies of the LGBTQ+ community. Both undergraduate and graduate candidates are invited to take part in the celebration of LGBTQ+ students, queer culture, and solidarity. The 2019 ceremony will feature a performance by an all-queer improvisational theatre group from the legendary Upright Citizens Brigade. Vincent Vigil ’02, recognized LGBTQ activist and interim director for the Diversity Initiatives and Resource Centers at California State University, Fullerton will deliver the keynote address. The Lavender Graduation ceremony will take place on Wednesday, May 15 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the Founder's Hill Lawn in front of Deihl Hall. 

The Black Graduation recognizes the accomplishments of students of African descent. This specialized celebration allows students to celebrate their graduation in an atmosphere that honors their heritage. The keynote address will be delivered by author, entertainer, and award-winning business man Ja Marr Brown ’95, founder of the Selling in Color Sales System and host of the Break it Down internet radio and online television program. The Black Cultural Graduation ceremony will be held Thursday, May 16 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Campus Center Courtyard.