The Office of Student Multicultural & Diversity Programs hosted the fourth annual Lavender Celebration Awards on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. This annual spring event recognizes LGBTQ undergraduate, graduate and professional students for both their contribution to campus and their success in graduating.

The awards were presented virtually on the SMDP SafeZone Instagram page (@safezoneuab) and the five award recipients represent some of the most dedicated individuals working to make UAB a more LGBTQ-inclusive and welcoming space.

Award categories and recipients were as follows:

Glenda Elliot LGBTQ Advocacy Award

Glenda Elliot LGBTQ Advocacy Award

Glenda Elliot LGBTQ Advocacy Award | Georgie Bennington and Kayli Franklin (left to right)

This award is given to a student, staff or faculty member who has been at the forefront of advocating for LGBTQ rights on campus and beyond. Bennington is a student who advocates for LGBTQ rights on campus and beyond by working in Queers Peers and SafeZone. Franklin is a student who has exhibited outstanding leadership on campus through her involvement in Queer Peers, SafeZone and the Gender and Sexuality Union.

Lavender Inclusion Award

Lavender Inclusion Award

Lavender Inclusion Award | The UAB Department of Social Work Faculty

This award is given to a UAB faculty or staff member who has worked to create welcoming and inclusive spaces on campus. The Department of Social Work faculty is made up of a terrific group of dedicated professionals who train students, both gay and straight, to work in and with the LGBTQ community. They also conducted research on the following important topics: health disparities among those with HIV/AIDS, homelessness and substance abuse.

Lavender Leadership Award

Lavender Leadership Award

Lavender Leadership Award | Lauren Senwo

This award is given to any UAB student who has been an outstanding leader on campus. Senwo took the initiative to create awareness, education and support for the intersection of race and sexuality for Black LGBTQ students at UAB. In addition, this student is creating a film that highlights the intersection of race and sexuality for this population.

Inclusive Research and Initiative Award

Inclusive Research and Initiative Award

Inclusive Research and Initiative Award | Dr. Erika (Ela) Austin

This award is given to any student, faculty, or staff member who has either developed research or initiatives to increase awareness, resources, education, and support for LGBTQ people. Austin serves as the associate dean for Academic Affairs in the UAB School of Public Health (SOPH). She oversees the educational mission of the school. Much of her public health and social science research centers around the LGBTQ community, people living with HIV and those experiencing homelessness.