The annual Unity Luncheon was held in Ursa Major on Tuesday, Feb. 8, from 11:30- 1pm. This year marked the 19th year that Cal Poly Pomona has hosted the event. The luncheon focused on bringing awareness to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.
Many prominent speakers, including keynote speaker Dr. Vincent Vigil, came out to speak on behalf of the LGBT community. President J. Michael Ortiz attended the event and gave the welcoming speech. Ortiz expressed how CPP “embraces diversity.” Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Marten L. denBoer, followed Ortiz and expressed his experiences as a homosexual male. He encouraged students that things do get better.
“I know from experience things have changed and have gotten better,” denBoer said.
The highlight of the event was the keynote speech, provided by Dr. Vincent Vigil, who is the director of the USC LGBT Resource Center. His speech was very inspirational for all the attendees.
“I feel motivated. Like our keynote speaker said, it is our responsibility to stand up and talk about our issues,” said Fredy Torres, award recipient for the Latino Faculty, Staff and Student Association.
Vigil discussed his personal experience and stressed on everyone in the LGBT community to find their rainbow.
“With every cloud we have to find the rainbow,” Vigil said. He went on to talk about other student’s, who he works with at USC, stories and experience with the LGBT community. He encouraged all attendees to be allies for the LGBT community, stressing that the LGBT community needs support even in the year 2011.
The Kellogg Chamber Singers also moved the crowd with their heart-felt performance of “We Come From Good People” led under the direction of Dr. Iris Levine. Brendan Hoye, a student soloist, also performed an original piece tailored to the luncheon’s theme.
Unity Luncheon Chair, Alfred Magallanes, said “I couldn’t have asked for a better program. We have received so much positive feedback from Administrators, Staff, Faculty, Students and even the University President himself, that this year’s luncheon was extraordinary.”
The 2011 Diversity Champion Award Recipients were Dawn Finley, Kimberly Fuentes, Jocelyn Pacleb, James Dang, La’Keisha Gilford-Beard, Kenneth Burrell, Dr. Richard Santillan, Fredy Torres, Dr. Edward Walton, Ignacio Perez, Pamela Adams and Marco Maldonado.
The event began with a wonderful array of free food for the attendees provided by Kellogg West. Opportunity drawing tickets where sold prior and during the event to raise money for scholarships. The Unity luncheon helps raise money for student scholarships, recognizes faculty and student leadership from CPP, and spreads awareness for multiple social issues.