Cultural Awareness Events

The Office of Equity & Diversity (OED) provides cultural awareness opportunities that fully embrace the diversity within the Polk State College family, and strives to create an overarching environment of understanding, acceptance, and inclusiveness through its annual celebrations. Polk State and the Office of Equity and Diversity invite the community to join in the following celebrations:

January: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a federal holiday held on the third Monday of January. It celebrates the life and achievements of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., an influential American Civil Rights leader known for his campaigns to end racial segregation on public transport and for his speeches promoting racial equality in the United States. Polk State College also holds a celebratory Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon in support of the of the College’s Dream the Dream Scholarship offered through the Office of Equity and Diversity.

Resources: National Diversity Council and The King Center

February: Black History Month

Black History Month began as Negro History Week, a cultural and historical reflection originated in 1926 through the efforts of 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 during the month. Douglass and Lincoln met and greatly respected each other, becoming both friends and allies in the abolition of slavery. The weeklong event became a month-long celebration in 1976. Since then, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. The month commemorates the important contributions and achievements of African Americans throughout the nation’s history. The College offers several cultural enrichment opportunities, musical performances, and other events to engage students and the community.

Resources: National Diversity Council and 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 scholarly achievement, history, culture, and society. Since 1987, it has been widely observed throughout the United States during March. During this month, Polk State offers presentations with guest speakers, performances, as well as the extremely popular Wise and Witty Women Luncheon in support of the Polk State College Foundation, which provides scholarships to Polk State students.

Resources: National Diversity Council and History.com

April: Diversity Awareness Month

Diversity Awareness Month, which started in 2004, is meant to celebrate diversity and inclusion within communities. Polk State College recognizes the value in operating with greater cross-cultural understanding and an inclusive environment. The diversity of the College community is one of its greatest strengths, providing an institution of higher learning that affords individuals the opportunity to embrace the differences of others and be respected and accepted for their own uniqueness. The month’s events focus on celebrating the beautiful differences inherent in all, while also finding common ground in the similarities shared. During the social events held during this month, organizers hope that individuals will develop a deeper understanding of each other and forge new friendships and relationships across the community.

Resource: Dignity & Respect Campaign

June: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month

To commemorate the Stonewall Riots of Manhattan in June 1969, June has been designated as LGBT Pride Month. The Stonewall Riots were a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States and mobilized individuals to organize for civil rights. In the United States, the last Sunday in June was initially celebrated as Gay Pride Day, but over time, the day grew to encompass a month-long series of events. Around the world, parades, rallies, and guest speakers are offered during the month of June in order to recognize LGBT people, promote equal rights, and take a positive stance against discrimination and violence. Because of the College’s proximity to the Orlando Pulse massacre on June 12, 2016, community members also participate in periodic events in remembrance of the victims of this tragedy.

Resource: Library of Congress

Celebrations in October:

Hispanic Heritage Month
National Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 to October 15, in celebration of the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Polk State offers varied enrichment opportunities incorporating cuisine, trivia, dancing, and discussions. The College Foundation also offers a Hispanic Heritage Scholarship through the Office of Equity and Diversity.

Resources: National Diversity Council and Library of Congress

DisAbility Awareness Month
DisAbility Awareness Month is also referred to as National Disability Employment Awareness Month; it began in 1945 as a campaign to raise awareness about employment issues for disabled people and celebrates the many and varied contributions of American workers with disabilities. In 1988, Congress designated October to officially recognize the achievements of those with disabilities, as well as to raise awareness regarding the many issues faced when these individuals are working and interacting in society.

Resource: National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts

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 event grew to encompass a month devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state, and national level that focus on mourning victims of domestic violence, celebrating survivors, and connecting and empowering those who are working to end violence in the home.

In 1989, October was designated as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the Day of Unity continues to be celebrated on the first Monday. Polk State offers presentations and interactive activities to increase awareness about domestic violence and maintains strong partnerships with key organizations, including the Peace River Shelter. The College community also participates in the One Billion Rising Campaign through special arts programming, as well as other annual endeavors that bring awareness to this important issue.

Resource: National Resource Center on Domestic Violence

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) History Month
Encompassing a number of historically important days, the month of October has been selected as LGBT History Month in observance of the many historical events that have shaped the LGBT civil rights movement and the important roles LGBT people have taken in creating today’s social, legal, and political landscape.

LGBT History Month originated in 1994 as an idea of Rodney Wilson, a high school history teacher in Missouri. The month was initially chosen to include National Coming Out Day (October 11) and the anniversary of the first LGBT March on Washington (October 14). It also includes Spirit Day (October 20), on which people wear purple in support of LGBT youth; Ally Week, which promotes awareness of LGBTQ bullying issues; and the anniversary of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard’s murder in 1988 (October 12), which sparked the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Resource: GLAAD

November: Veteran’s Day

Veterans Day, November 11, is a U.S. holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars. In 1918 during World War I, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany. Commemorated in many countries as Armistice Day the following year, November 11 became a U.S. holiday in 1938. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became known as Veterans Day. The original concept was for the community to come together in celebration and solidarity for those who have served in the armed forces, recognizing them with parades, public meetings, and acts of remembrance for their service and sacrifice.

The observance of Veterans Day at the College is led by the partnership of the Veterans Services Office and the Student Activities and Leadership Office (SALO). In addition, Polk State College has celebratory events that are intertwined with Disability Awareness Month, which encompasses and recognizes the many disabled veterans within society.

Resources: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and History.com

 

  1. Hispanic Heritage Scholarship

    Criteria for the Hispanic Heritage Scholarship

    Application period:
    The application period for the 2018 Hispanic Heritage Scholarship is from Tuesday, August 14, 2018, to Tuesday, September 25, 2018, by 11:59 p.m. (EST).

    The applicant:

    A. Must have a high school GPA of 3.5 (unweighted) or an overall college GPA of 3.0. A high school applicant must be a senior and have completed the Polk State College admissions process. 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.

    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). A high school applicant must submit a copy of the high school transcript with the unweighted GPA and all coursework included. A college applicant must include a copy of his or her Polk State transcript with all coursework and the GPA included.

    Submission:

    • The applicant can access the application here.
    • The student must submit the application, essay, and copy of the high school or college transcript (as appropriate) electronically to HHM@polk.edu.

    The subject line of the e-mail should read: 2018 HHM Application (name of student).

    • The deadline for the 2018 Hispanic Heritage Scholarship is Tuesday, September 25, 2018, by 11:59 p.m. (EST).

    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 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.

    The scholarship is awarded at the Hispanic Heritage Scholarship Fiesta on Wednesday, October 17, 2018, at 12:00 p.m. in LAC 1133 at the Lakeland Student Center Dining Hall.

    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.

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

    Criteria for the 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 is from Wednesday, September 26, 2018, to Friday, November 9, 2018, by 11:59 p.m. (EST).

    The applicant:

    A. Must have a high school GPA of 3.5 (unweighted) or an overall college GPA of 3.0. A high school applicant must be a senior and have completed the Polk State College admissions process. 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.

    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).
    • A high school applicant must submit a copy of the high school transcript with the unweighted GPA and all coursework included.
    • A college applicant must include a copy of his or her Polk State transcript with all coursework and the GPA included.

    Submission:

    • The applicant can access the application here.
    • The student must submit the application, essay, and high school or college transcript (as appropriate) electronically to MLK@polk.edu.

    The subject line of the e-mail should read: 2019 MLK Application (name of student).

    • The deadline for the 2019 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship, is Friday, November 9, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. (EST).

    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.

    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.