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.
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