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Donning of the Kente & Lavender Ceremony LVC Celebration of the Class of 2020

Dr. Renata Williams, Kente and Lavender Welcome

Donning of the Kente is a ceremony to recognize and honor the contributions and accomplishments ALANA and multicultural students made to the College; a Lavender Graduation Ceremony is a complement to traditional graduation ceremonies to honor LGBTQ+ students and their families.

President Lewis E. Thayne, Congratulations

Donning of the Kente

Kente is a ceremonial cloth hand-woven on a loom, and dating as far back as the 12th century, by the Ashanti people in Ghana, West Africa. Kente cloths come in various colors, sizes, and designs and are worn during very important social and religious occasions.

In a total cultural context, Kente is more important than just a cloth. It is a visual representation of history, philosophy, ethics, oral literature, moral values, social code of conduct, and religious beliefs.

Colors of Kente

Yellow represents the yolk of the egg, as well as certain fruits and vegetables. The color is a symbol for things that are holy and precious.

Pink is used to symbolize gentle qualities such as calmness, sweetness, and tenderness.

Red stands for blood and for strong political and spiritual feelings.

Maroon is associated with the color of Earth, the mother. It represents healing and protection from evil.

Blue stands for the sky and is used to symbolize holiness, peace, harmony, good fortune, and love.

Green is associated with plants and stands for growth and good health.

Gold, like the metal, is a symbol of royalty, wealth, and spiritual purity.

White represents the white of an egg, as well as the white clay that is used in certain rituals. It stands for purity and healing.

Black stands for aging because in nature things get darker as they get older. Black also stands for strong spiritual energy and the spirits of the ancestors.

Grey represents ashes, which are used for spiritual cleansing.

Silver stands for the moon and represents serenity, purity, and joy.

Purple, like maroon, is associated with Earth and healing.

Marsha R. Banks ’04; Inspirational Message

Lavender Graduation Ceremony

Lavender Graduation is an annual ceremony conducted on numerous campuses to honor lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students and to acknowledge their achievements and contributions to the College. 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, with three graduates. By 2001, there were more than 45 Lavender Graduation Ceremonies at colleges and universities nationwide.

Why Lavender?

The significance of “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.

Meet the Graduates

Tyler Cox, Reading of the Names

  • Madeline Abbot
  • Sarah Durham
  • Breana Friday
  • Hannah Gale
  • Tatianna M. Garcia
  • Cara Noelle Gibson
  • Michael N. Hamilton
  • Kayla Heiserman
  • Joel Jagroo
  • Deacon Maxwell Johnson
  • Emily C. Nyby
  • Erin Rodriguez
  • Malia Waltman
  • Kyle West

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