Instead of hosting individual celebrations for students in the Asian/American & Pacific Islander, Latinx and Native American communities, the Center for Multicultural Affairs will be hosting a single Multicultural Graduation Ceremony, according to an Instagram post from the CMA.
“This year we are expanding who is celebrated to communities of color at large as well as anyone who identifies with the framing of ‘multiculturalism,’” the post read.
Hosting one Multicultural Graduation Ceremony will be more inclusive of students who identify with multiple identities, and is “institutionally more sustainable and feasible” for the staff members organizing this year’s ceremony, according to the CMA’s RSVP form. The ceremony is different from Final Honors, which is a graduation ceremony specifically for African American and Black-identified students.
“[A Multicultural Graduation Ceremony] is a time where all community members … can come together to honor the accomplishments of each graduating class, especially as marginalized community members who have navigated and surmounted countless systemic barriers, expectation, and narratives that seek to contain and define them,” the form read.
One ceremony would also allow for a budget to host a larger and more robust celebration, and will encourage the Duke community to critically consider what “cross-cultural connection/ bridge building across a multitude of diasporas can look like in real time,” according to the form.
This year, the center has also added a CMA multicultural stole to recognize that the three current stoles “may not adequately honor all of the cultural identities & communities that the CMA aims to celebrate,” according to a Feb. 13 Instagram post. It will still be offering these culturally specific stoles for the Asian/American & Pacific Islander, Latinx and Native American communities.
“The addition of the CMA multicultural stole is an intentional step that we are taking in order to expand the ways we honor our extremely diverse & intersectional student populations,” the post read.
The Chronicle reached out to Shruti Desai, associate vice president of student affairs for campus life, for more information on the Multicultural Graduation Ceremony. Desai directed The Chronicle to Dawna Jones, assistant vice president of student affairs for identity centers and community development, who directed The Chronicle back to the Jan. 24 Instagram post.
The Multicultural Graduation Ceremony will be held on April 11 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Karsh Alumni Center. It will be open to both undergraduate and graduate students of color from culturally marginalized communities, as well as African-American and Black-identified students, according to the RSVP form. The ceremony will take place both in-person and virtually “to expand the accessibility of the event to all participants and their loved ones.”
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Kerria Weaver is a first-year master’s student in the Graduate Liberal Studies program and a staff reporter of The Chronicle’s 118th volume.