Lavender Celebration

Lavender Celebration



Lavender Celebration is a commencement ceremony honoring graduating LGBTQ+ and allied students. It is a cultural celebration that acknowledges the achievements and contributions that students of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions have made at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

How to Participate

There is no cost to participate in or attend Lavender Celebration.

All graduating participants must register using the Lavender Celebration Form below:

Please visit back to access the registration form in the spring semester. 

Eligibility Requirements

Participants must be one of the following at John Jay College:

  • Undergraduate student
  • Graduate student
  • Professional student
  • Doctoral candidate


Participants must be approved to graduate in the most recent Fall semester or the current Spring semester. 

2021 Lavender Celebration Details

Date: Thursday, May 12, 2021
Time: 1:40 pm – 2:40 pm (Community Hour)
Location: Zoom (Registered participants will be given a link to share with their guests.)

Keynote speaker: Alexander Roque, President and Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center

Alexander Roque has over 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector. Over the past years, Alex has led community and business development, fundraising, and communications for non-profit organizations.

Alex was recruited to the Ali Forney Center in 2011 to launch the agency’s first in-house Development Department aimed at building capacity, community relations and business infrastructure. In his time, he has tripled the organization's budget, increased program and administrative capacity, and has introduced robust corporate and community relations programs helping to AFC the leading provider of care and support services for LGBTQ youth. In March of 2020, he was named the Executive Director of the organization succeeding its founder of 18 years.

Prior to joining AFC, Alex led the field development and operations for a health charity where he mobilized a national field fundraising and operation’s model raising much needed services and funds for research, family services, and development. In the years before running this national program, Alex led programs for youth in the dependency systems residing in foster care.

Alex has also worked with the Center for Anti-Violence Education which provides empowerment services, education, and self-defense training to help women overcome and heal from the traumas of sexual harassment, assault, rape, domestic violence, racism, gender based violence, racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia. He also worked with The Fibromyalgia Care Society of America serving to raise awareness and services for those living with Fibromyalgia. In 2018, Alex was appointed to the board of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation. He works closely with the foundation’s founders and leadership on their work to support young people throughout the United States and around the world. 

Alex lives in Brooklyn with his husband and their five-year-old son.

Lavender Celebration Cords

The Lavender Celebration cord is meant to give special honors to those students who have exemplified a quiet determination as they have achieved their scholarly goals, and much more. The cords are for participants and are FREE.

Deadline has already passed to receive your cord for Lavender Celebration

Audre Lorde Award

The LGBTQ+ Resource Center is happy to continue the tradition of hosting the Annual Lavender Celebration. During this year’s 5th Annual Lavender Celebration we will continue the tradition by honoring one student and one faculty/staff member in our community with the Audre Lorde Award for Social Justice. Click on the flyer below to nominate someone you think is deserving of this honor.

Deadline has already passed for th e2021 Lavender Celebration Nomination.

Audre Lorde event flyer


1.     How did Lavender Graduation start?

a.     Now tradition at more than 200 colleges and universities across the country, Lavender Graduation began in 1995 at the university of Michigan. Ronni Sanlo, then the Director of the LGBT Campus Resource Center, organized the first Lavender Graduation with three graduates. She initiated Lavender Graduation after being denied access to attend her own children's graduations due to her sexual orientation and out of a desire to celebrate LGBT students. She has stated that her vision “is that Lavender Graduation will be an annual celebration at every college and university in the country and that the lives of our LGBT students will be fully honored.” 

2.     How and when did Lavender Celebration begin at John Jay College?

a.     In 2016, the LGBTQ Task Force and LGBTQ+ Initiatives at John Jay created the Lavender Celebration to honor LGBTQ graduating students and award one student and one staff/faculty with the Audre Lorde Award for Social Justice.

3.     Who can participate in Lavender Celebration?

a.     John Jay College Undergraduate students, Graduate students, Professional students, and Doctoral candidates who graduated in the most recent Fall semester, or are approved to graduate in the current Spring semester.

4.     Who can attend Lavender Celebration?

a.     Lavender Celebration are typically open to the public. Participants are encouraged to invite their friends, families and loved ones. John Jay individuals from departments and units that co-sponsor Lavender Celebration or from departments and units that work closely with the LGBTQ+ Resource Center or LGBTQ+ communities are also likely to attend.

5.     Can I invite family and friends to the event?

a.     Yes! We hope that you will invite your families, friends and faculty members to witness your successes! 

6.     Who is Audre Lorde?

a.     Audre Lorde was an American writer, feminist, womanist, librarian, and civil rights activist. She was a self-described "Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet," who dedicated both her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing injustices of racism, sexism, classism, capitalism, heterosexism, and homophobia.