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Colorado Signs Legislation to Protect Cultural Attire for Graduations Into Law

June 11, 2024
Contact: Emma Bittner
(972) 510-3395 |

Colorado Signs Legislation to Protect Cultural Attire for Graduations Into Law

(Denver, CO) –  Last week, Governor Jared Polis signed House Bill 24-1323 into law, ensuring Colorado preschool, public school, public college, or university students have the right to wear objects of “cultural or religious significance” during graduations. 

This law follows a 2023 U.S. District Court decision that barred Colorado high school student Naomi Peña Villansano, from wearing a sash displaying the flags of the U.S. and Mexico at her high school graduation in Garfield County. HB24-1323 defines “cultural” as a recognized practice or traditions of people from protected classes such as: race, ethnicity, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and religion. It guarantees students’ rights to wear cultural and religious regalia, such as Latine, LGBTQIA+, and Black graduation stoles and attire. Furthermore, the legislation includes guardrails to prevent hate speech and provocative language.

Young Invincibles is excited to see this critical legislation signed into law and create space for cultural celebrations within graduation ceremonies.

In response, Emmett Blaney, Rocky Mountain Policy Coordinator at Young Invincibles, said: 

“This legislative session, Colorado affirmed that it is a state that values the diversity of its young students. This legislation, HB 24-1323, is critical to ensuring that students’ voices are protected and celebrated in graduation ceremonies. This piece of legislation is more than an acknowledgment of students’ achievements; it opens a larger conversation about the ways our education system suppresses marginalized students’ voices. It creates the opportunity for us to push to dismantle other mechanisms of oppression in public education.

Young Invincibles worked diligently with advocates to provide testimonies in support of this legislation and guarantee that young voices were heard. We are thrilled to see Governor Polis sign this into law for future Colorado graduates.” 

In response, Miguel Garcia, Young Advocates Program Alum and Metropolitan State University of Denver student said: 

I had worked for my entire childhood for this moment. High School graduation was not a given for me- I had worked so hard to be there- so being unable to express my cultural heritage in a ceremony that is so important to both me and my family as a first-generation student like myself was embarrassing, and distressing, and made me feel otherized in a way that is hard to explain. I am thrilled now that every student in Colorado will have their right to express their cultural heritage and identity at graduation protected under Colorado law.” 


Young Invincibles (YI) is a national advocacy and policy nonprofit organization focused on amplifying the voice of young people in the political process at the local, state, and federal levels. YI focuses on issues impacting young adults ages 18 to 34 in higher education, health care, economic security, and civic engagement. Our offices include Washington, D.C., California, Colorado, Illinois, New York, and Texas. For more information, please contact Emma Bittner at (972) 510-3395 or