Chaffey Celebrates LGBTQ+, Latino and Black Graduates

May 16, 2022

Chaffey LGBTQ+ grad student

With flowing costumes, pounding drums and big smiles, hundreds of students, friends and family members gathered for Chaffey College’s three cultural graduation celebrations on May 6, 7 and 15.

It’s a tradition aligning with the college’s dedication to diversity and equity. Chaffey’s cultural celebrations – Black, Nuestra (meaning “our” in Spanish) and Lavender (celebrating LGBTQ+ students) – took place at the Rancho Cucamonga campus.

The official commencement ceremony, honoring all Chaffey College students, was held at Toyota Arena on May 19.

“These smaller cultural ceremonies provide meaningful opportunities for us to recognize our underrepresented communities in a way that is more personal and special,” said Chaffey College Superintendent/President Henry Shannon.

Dr. Leticia Romo, director of student equity and engagement, said the college’s cultural celebrations reflect how much Chaffey values inclusivity and equity.

“Statistically, LGBTQ+ students, Latinx students and Black students graduate at lower rates compared to other identities,” Romo said. “The cultural graduations serve as a way of celebrating accomplishment.”

The inaugural Lavender Cultural Graduation Celebration took place virtually in 2021, but returned May 6 in person at the Wignall Museum. Dr. Christine Mata, associate vice chancellor and dean of students at the University of California Riverside served as keynote speaker.

Students and their families gathered for the Black/African American celebration on May 7 outside the Center for the Arts, where African Soul International performed and Dr. Teshia Roby, Cal Poly Pomona associate vice president of learning and research technologies, delivered the keynote address. And hundreds gathered inside the Sports Center for the Nuestra celebration, which included performances by Mariachi Alfaro and a keynote address by Dr. Maria Luz Martinez, of Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.