On May 3 the Office of Multicultural Affairs in partnership with the Gay Path Alliance Student Club hosted a hybrid Multicultural & Lavender Scholar Celebration in honor of student leaders who were active within the Office of Multicultural Affairs and or contributed meaningfully to diversity and inclusion efforts at Bay Path University.
The ceremony, which commemorated students' journeys and achievements, included the donning of the Kente Stole. Kente means “basket” and has historical roots in the country of Ghana and the Ashanti people in West Africa. Students who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community were also given a Lavender Cord, a tradition that was started in 1995 by Dr. Ronni Sanlo, a lesbian who was denied access to her children's graduation due to her own sexual orientation.
Included in the celebration was an opening prayer by Pastor Maria Elsie Sanchez Torres, student reflections, and an address from keynote speaker Tanisha Arena G'18.
Congratulations to our graduates!
The History of the Kente Cloth
The Kente cloth is a tradition that dates back to the Ashante people in Ghana created specifically for royalty and to highlight prominent figures in the community during celebrations. Today, many colleges and universities honor their students of color who have persevered while overcoming significant challenges and acknowledge their contributions to the university's mission and engagement. The Kente Stole received by Bay Path students include the colors maroon (healing), gold (royalty, prosperity), green (renewal), and black(maturity) The golden stool is a symbol of absolute power.
The History of the Lavender Cord
The Lavender cord honors LGBTQ+ students to acknowledge their resilience, achievements, and contributions to the University. The Lavender Graduation Ceremony was created by Dr. Ronni Sanlo, a Jewish Lesbian, who was denied the opportunity to attend the graduations of her biological children because of her sexual orientation. It was through this experience that she came to understand the pain felt by her students. Encouraged by the Dean of Students at the University of Michigan, Dr. Sanlo designed the first Lavender Graduation Ceremony in 1995.