BLM co-founder Alicia Garza to speak at UC San Diego’s 2021 commencement ceremony

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – UC San Diego will host its commencement ceremony in person this June, with alumna Alicia Garza — co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network — as keynote speaker, it was announced Wednesday.

Garza, who graduated in 2002, is also principal at Black Futures Lab, which is intended to make Black communities powerful in politics.

“Alicia Garza’s determination to be a catalyst for change has deeply influenced our campus community, and we are honored to feature her as our commencement keynote speaker,” Chancellor Pradeep Khosla said. “Her commitment to health equity and rights for domestic workers as well as ending police violence, racism and violence against transgender and gender non- conforming people of color has made a significant impact on the lives of many in our nation and around the world.”

The commencement ceremonies will be held June 12 and June 13. Graduates will have the opportunity to attend ceremonies in person on RIMAC Field, with no more than two guests.

All in-person participants should be fully vaccinated or have had a negative COVID-19 test within 24 to 72 hours prior to the ceremony. Participants will be required to complete a symptom screening upon entry.

UCS says all health and safety measures will be observed, based on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and county guidelines for travel and gatherings, including continuous masking. For graduates not able to participate in person, commencement ceremonies will be offered online via livestream for all graduates, families and friends.

“This has been an academic year unlike any other,” a statement from UCSD to students said. “Throughout the pandemic, you have demonstrated resilience, adaptability and a willingness to try new ways of engaging. You have affirmed UC San Diego’s mission — showing us, with optimism and courage, that we must work together to shape an innovative and equitable future.”

Separate ceremonies will be held for each undergraduate college as well as the Graduate Division, Rady School of Management and the School of Global Policy and Strategy.

Events “will reflect the culture of each college and division” and will feature an address from the chancellor, a keynote talk by Garza, and a student speaker. Each registered graduate will be individually recognized whether joining remotely or in person, and the university will officially confer degrees upon all graduates. Eligible students will receive an email with additional information.

Alicia Garza

In this July 11, 2016, file photo, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Alicia Garza attends the arrivals at VH1’s Hip Hop Honors at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center in New York. Black activists believe the police killing of George Floyd and the nationwide civil unrest that followed could be the catalyst for overhauling the criminal justice system. “What we’re facing is a real reckoning on a lot of levels,” said Garza. “This (coronavirus) pandemic pulled back the curtains on decades of disinvestment, decades of devaluing and also now one of the major issues that black communities face is violence at the hands of the police.” (Photo by Brad Barket/Invision/AP, File)

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