Celebrate Diversity Awards Banquet: Scholarship Fundraiser happening Wednesday, Nov. 6

Noon Notebook: Texas Tech's Celebrate Diversity Banquet to include Cyntoia Brown-Long

Provided by Texas Tech Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Each fall, the Office of Institutional Diversity hosts the Celebrate Diversity Awards Banquet to generate scholarship funds for deserving students, while also recognizing those within the Texas Tech and Lubbock communities who exemplify Inclusive Excellence.

Additionally, the recipient(s) of the Senator Robert L. Duncan Community Champion Award are recognized.

The 9th annual Celebrate Diversity Awards Banquet will be held on Wednesday, November 6th at the Frazier Alumni Pavilion. Author, speaker, and advocate for criminal justice reform, Cyntoia Brown-Long will be the speaker at this year's event.

Cyntoia had a difficult start to life. She was born to an alcoholic, teenage mother who was also a victim of sex trafficking. Cyntoia experienced a sense of isolation, low self-esteem, and alienation that drove her straight into the hands of a predator. Cyntoia became a victim of sex trafficking and at the age of 16 was arrested for killing a man who had solicited her for sex. She was tried as an adult and was sentenced to life in prison without chance of parole for 51 years. In prison, Cyntoia's life took a dramatic turn when the prison education principal took her under her wing and introduced her to a spiritual path. She encouraged her to build a positive life in prison and to resist the negative influences that lead to despair.

Her journey was a roller coaster ride that included a documentary about her life, a profound encounter with God, an unlikely romance, and, eventually, a commuted sentence by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. She received an unprecedented national and international outpouring of support from social media advocates, pastors, and celebrities and was released from prison in Nashville, TN on August 7, 2019.

Individual tickets for the banquet are for $75 and $100 (VIP) each. Tables of eight are available $1,000 and $1,500 (VIP). VIP includes premium seating, admittance to the VIP Reception and photo with Cyntoia Brown-Long. All table purchasers will receive recognition in the banquet's printed program and through public announcement during the event. Proceeds benefit student scholarships. Bio and sponsorship information is available here.


If you would like to donate but you are unable to attend the event please contact us at 806-742-7025

Past speakers for the event include; James Edward Olmos, Terrence Howard, Soledad O'Brien, John Quiñones, former U.S. Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera, Grace Gealey, Dr. Michael Benitez and Ana Navarro.

Award Recipients

Senator Robert L. Duncan Community Champion Award

2006 - Senator Robert L. Duncan

2007 - Linda DeLeon

2008 - Learn, Inc.

2009 - 100 Black Men of West Texas, Peggy A. Duran-Klenclo

2010 - Eric Strong

2011 - Carolina Ysasaga

2012 - David Seim

2013 - Quincy White

2014 - Bart Reagor

2015 - Marciano & Martha Morales

2016 - Adrienne Cozart

2017 - Christy Martinez-Garcia

2018 - TJ Patterson

Inclusive Excellence Award Recipients

2009 - Kelly Overley, Dr. Juan S. Muñoz

2011 - Rene Davis, Calvin Davis, Dr. Lawrence Schovanec

2012 - Grace Hernandez, Yuan Shu

2013 - Dr. Aliza Wong, Eric Strong

2014 - Kirby Hocutt, Cathy Pope, Becky Wilson

2015 - Kent Meredith, Chris Snead

2016 - Janie Landin Ramirez, Tom Vermillion

2017 - Jodie Billingsley, Dr. Wendy Ross, Dr. Gary Elbow

2018 - Dr. Judi Henry, Dr. Scott Ridley

For more information regarding the Celebrate Diversity Dinner or the Inclusive Excellence Awards, please email diversity@ttu.edu