The Office of Equity & Diversity (OED) provides cultural awareness opportunities that celebrate the creation of an inclusive environment that fully embraces diversity within our Polk State College family. As we continue to fulfill our vision, the Office of Equity and Diversity strives to create an overarching environment of understanding, acceptance, and inclusiveness through annual celebrations. We invite the community to join us in recognition of these celebrations.

Our celebrations include …

January: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday held on the third Monday of January. It celebrates the life and achievements of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an influential American Civil Rights leader. He is most well-known for his campaigns to end racial segregation on public transport and for racial equality in the United States.

Source: National Diversity Council

February: Black History Month
The celebration of Black History Month began as Negro History Week which was originated in 1926, by Carter G. Woodson, a noted African American historian, scholar, educator, and publisher. The month of February was selected to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln who were both born in that month. It became a month-long celebration in 1976. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. The month is used to remember the important contributions and achievements of African Americans throughout our nation’s history.

References:
National Diversity Council
History.com

March: Women’s History Month
Growing out of a small-town school event in California, Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture, and society. The United States has observed it annually throughout the month of March since 1987.

References:
National Diversity Council
History.com

April: Diversity Awareness Month
April is Celebrate Diversity Month, started in 2004 to recognize and honor the diversity surrounding us all. By celebrating differences and similarities during this month, organizers hope that people will get a deeper understanding of each other.

June: LGBT Pride Month
To commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969 in Manhattan, June has been proclaimed as LGBT Pride Month. The Stonewall riots were a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. In the United States the last Sunday in June was initially celebrated as “Gay Pride Day,” but the actual day was flexible. In major cities across the nation, the “day” soon grew to encompass a month-long series of events.

Pride events–including many parades–are held in June around the world in order to recognize LGBT people, promote equal rights, and take a positive stance against discrimination and violence.

Reference: Library of Congress

October:
Hispanic Heritage Month
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, culture, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

DisAbility Awareness Month

Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) evolved from the “Day of Unity” held in October 1981 and conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children. The Day of Unity soon became an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state, and national level. The activities conducted were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors but had common themes:

  • Mourning those who have died because of domestic violence
  • Celebrating those who have survived
  • Connecting those who work to end violence

These three themes remain a key focus of DVAM events today. In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. That same year marks the initiation of the first national domestic violence toll-free hotline. In 1989, the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112 designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Such legislation has passed every year since with National Coalition Against Domestic Violence providing key leadership in this effort. Each year, the Day of Unity is celebrated the first Monday of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

—Adapted from the 1996 Domestic Violence Awareness Month Resource Manual of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Reference: National Resource Center on Domestic Violence

LGBT History Month
LGBT History Month, a time dedicated to recognizing important moments in the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Encompassing a number of historically important days, October is set to remind both the LGBT and wider communities of important roles LGBT people have taken in creating the social, legal, and political worlds we live in today.

LGBT History Month was created in 1994 by a high school history teacher in Missouri called Rodney Wilson. The month, which garnered early support from organizations such as GLAAD and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), was initially chosen to include the by-then well-established National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11 and the anniversary of the first march on Washington by LGBT people in 1979 on Oct. 14.

The month now also includes Spirit Day on Oct. 20, on which people around the country wear purple in support of LGBT youth; Ally Week, a week in which allies against LGBTQ bullying are celebrated; and the anniversary of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard’s murder on Oct. 12, 1998, which sparked the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Reference: GLAAD

 

Scholarship Opportunities

  1. Hispanic Heritage Scholarship

    Application Period
    The application period for the 2018-­19 Hispanic Heritage Scholarship begins on Tuesday, August 14, 2018. The deadline to submit the application materials is Tuesday, September 25, 2018, by 11:55 p.m (EST).

    Overall Criteria for the Hispanic Heritage Scholarship Application

    The applicant:
    A.  Must have a high school GPA of 3.5 (unweighted), or an overall college GPA of 3.0. A college applicant must have completed a minimum of 12 credit hours. Any Polk State College student with the required GPA and credit count can apply. A high school applicant must be a senior and have completed the Polk State College admission process.
    B.  Must be enrolled as a Polk State College student, full or part time, to be eligible to use the funds awarded.
    C.  Must use the funds awarded for courses, textbooks, or school-related supplies.

    Application and Essay Requirements:
    The applicant must complete the application and a typed, two-page, double-spaced essay. These items must be submitted electronically by the deadline. The essay should not exceed two pages and should be in 12-point, Times New Roman font, in Word format (i.e., doc. file).

    Evaluation process:
    All essays are read and rated according to the following criteria:

    • The student has answered all questions and followed essay instructions.
    • The student has demonstrated the ability to express thoughts fluidly and coherently in written language—Spanish or English.
    • The student has demonstrated his or her interest in the Hispanic community.
    • The student meets the minimum required GPA and related requirements (see above).
    • The GPA is used to rank applicants in the event of a tie.

    Additional information:

    • Scholarship recipients are notified and asked to attend the Hispanic Heritage Scholarship Fiesta with family, friends, or guests.
    • An RSVP with the total number of attendees is needed to prepare for this event.
    • Recipients who are able to attend must arrive by 11:30 a.m.

    Submission:

    The scholarship will be awarded at the Hispanic Heritage Scholarship Fiesta on Wednesday, October 17, 2018, at 12 p.m. in LAC 1133, at the Polk State Lakeland Student Center Dining Hall.

    The Polk State College Foundation contacts recipients to provide more information about accessing funds for classes or books for the Spring 2019 Term (or later).

    The scholarship must be used within one year of award date.

  2. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – Dream the Dream Scholarship

    Application Period
    The application period for the 20­19 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – Dream the Dream Scholarship begins on Thursday, October 11, 2018. The deadline to submit the application materials is Friday, November 16, 2018, by 11:59 p.m (EST).

    Overall Criteria for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – Dream the Dream Scholarship

    The applicant:
    A.  Must have a high school GPA of 3.5 (unweighted), or an overall college GPA of 3.0. A college applicant must have completed a minimum of 12 credit hours. Any Polk State College student with the required GPA and credit count can apply. A high school applicant must be a senior and have completed the Polk State College admission process.
    B.  Must be enrolled as a Polk State College student, full or part time, to be eligible to use the funds awarded.
    C.  Must use the funds awarded for courses, textbooks, or school-related supplies.

    Application and Essay Requirements:
    The applicant must complete the application and a typed, two-page, double-spaced essay. These items must be submitted electronically by the deadline. The essay should not exceed two pages and should be in 12-point, Times New Roman font, in Word format (i.e., doc. file).

    Evaluation process:
    All essays are read and rated according to the following criteria:

    • The student has answered all questions and followed the essay instructions.
    • The student has demonstrated the ability to express thoughts fluidly and coherently in written language.
    • The student has demonstrated his or her interest in the community.
    • The student meets the minimum required GPA and related requirements (see above).
    • The GPA is used to rank applicants in the event of a tie.

    Additional information:

    • Scholarship recipients are notified and asked to attend the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Luncheon with family, friends, or guests.
    • An RSVP with the total number of attendees is needed to prepare for this event.
    • Recipients who are able to attend must arrive by 11:00 a.m.

    Submission:

    Scholarships are awarded at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Luncheon on Wednesday, January 9, 2019, at 11:30 a.m. in WST 126, at the Polk State Winter Haven Student Center

    The Polk State College Foundation contacts recipients to provide information about accessing funds for classes or books for the Spring 2019 Term (or later).

    The scholarship must be used within one year of its award date.