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Bentley Celebrates Diversity during Rainbow Awards Luncheon
The Bentley community gathered together to celebrate its lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer and questioning community during the annual Rainbow Luncheon. The popular event hosted by the group Bentley People Respecting Individuality and Diversity through Education (P.R.I.D.E.) featured a keynote address by Sharon Lettman-Hicks, executive director and chief executive officer of the National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering the Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
The Luncheon puts the spotlight on Bentley individuals who make outstanding contributions to the safety and well-being of Bentley’s LGBTQ community and also to educating the overall community in order to foster a supportive and inclusive environment on campus. Every year two people receive the Rainbow Award for:
- Showing courage of conviction by taking a public stand in support of the LGBTQ population
- Contributing in ways large and small to the humanizing of the Bentley campus in terms of respect and appreciation for inclusion
- Showing a commitment to making Bentley more hospitable to LGBTQ people and a commitment to maintaining the ongoing effort for understanding and acceptance
This year’s Rainbow Award winners are Tony Martin, assistant director in the Residential Center and student Ali Kane ’13.
Martin was chosen for his ability to make real connections with others, start dialogues and build a strong sense of community. Martin has revamped aspects of the RA diversity training and has co-facilitated and co-emceed the “Guess the Straight Person” event held during Culture Fest. He is also part of the LGBTQ steering committee.
Kane is Co-Vice President of P.R.I.D.E and is not afraid to have difficult conversations in the classroom or in the residence halls. She created the campus-wide ‘Reject Stereotypes, Accept People’ campaign, aimed at breaking down stereotypes and urging those on campus to accept others regardless of differences. She also performed, co-produced and collaborated
with P.R.I.D.E. and APO (??) to put on a production of the Laramie Project, a play about reaction to the 1998 murder of gay student Matthew Shepard.
The Rainbow Luncheon is sponsored by the President’s Office, LGTBQ@Bentley, Counseling & Student Development and P.R.I.D.E.
The Yawkey Foundations have recognized Bentley University’s longstanding commitment to service-learning and awarded the university $500,000 to educate students to effectively lead nonprofit organizations and expand student efforts to help community groups.