CSUB hosts lavender ceremony for the class of 2023

Gillian Galicia, Photographer

On May 11, 38 graduates came together as members of the LGBTQ+ community, or allies, to be recognized for their graduating achievements for the Spring of 2023.

Those who were honored wore a lavender stole in remembrance of LGBTQ+ history. The pink triangle that gay men were forced to wear in Nazi concentration camps and the black triangle that labeled lesbians as political prisoners in Nazi Germany were featured on their stoles.

Dr. BreAnna Evans-Santiago was the keynote speaker of the evening, and she gave words of wisdom, encouragement and a lesson about the history of those who have advocated for LGBTQ+ students on the California State University, Bakersfield campus.

“I have fought and advocated for identities with in an education setting. Because of our love and advocacy, we have saved student’s live,.” said Evans-Santiago during her emotional speech to the graduates.

The graduates were also thankful to be graduating and to celebrate alongside those who are part of the community.

“I am happy that CSUB can make everyone feel welcome. It makes me feel amazing that this can be a safe place,” said ally, Sarah O’Leary, a senior studio arts major with a minor in anthropology.

Another student who graduated and earned their lavender stole during this evening was Brianna Santaella.

“As a queer person on campus it is important to recognize the success between queer and trans people in our community. Support is important to their academic success as well. Being an ally is important for visibility, support and change,” said Santella.

The ceremony was closed out by President Zelezny. She ended the ceremony by telling the graduates, “Remember how near or far your talents and education take you, you will always have a home at CSUB.”