Kristy Moua, Staff Writer
Students, staff and members of the community attended the annual event well dressed and excited to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community. On Thursday, April 11, the Lavender Celebration and Awards Ceremony was held in East Commons.
Lary Lopez and Yamileth Carachure-Flores opened the event, welcoming the audience and sharing facts about the LGBTQIA+ community here at Augsburg. Augsburg is one of the top-30 LGBTQ-friendly campuses and provides the opportunity for students to share one’s preferred pronouns on the Records and Registration page.
Ann Garvey, vice president of student affairs, shared a few words and presented Brittany Stokes with an award for showing strong leadership as president of Queer Indigenous People of Color (QIPOC). Ole Schenk, who is affiliated with Campus Ministry said a few words that he left open to interpretion as a prayer or poetry.
Afterwards, the event went into intermission, allowing everyone to have dinner while watching a student-made video. The short film captured the impact that Michael Grewe, director of the LGBTQIA+ Student Services, has had on students. Students shared insight on how Grewe has been a supportive, encouraging mentor and role model. Along with that, students also shared how Grewe has been a respectful ally towards individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+ and are people of color. It was a very bittersweet night for Grewe, who will be leaving his current position. Although Grewe’s presence on campus will still be visible but now as the director of campus life.
Nou-Chee Chang, a first-year, performed a song from “Steven Universe.” Her performance captivated the room. The event also invited Roxanne Anderson, a local LGBTQIA+ activist, to share their life experiences and powerful words. Anderson shared with the crowd how gender roles and gender restrictions were established within their own home life and by society. The activist described their journey on becoming an advocate and what events led them to where they are today. Furthermore, Anderson emphasised and repeated with their mellow tone saying, “Your story matters.”
Anderson’s words captured the importance of validating LGBTQIA+ stories within the community. Every story is essential to share and pass on. Awards such as the Karen Neitge Scholarship, LGBTQIA+ leadership awards and the Augsburg pride awards were given to students who have shined this school year. The overall night was a success, a beautiful way to end the school year with the LGBTQIA+ community.
This article was originally published in the April 26, 2019 issue.
Ann Garvey and Michael Grewe pictured at the Lavender event. Photo by San Luhning.