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Ashanti' Bishop '22

Ashanti’ Bishop ’22, an early childhood education major at Saint Rose and the 2021 Albany Tulip Queen

Like most of us, Ashanti’ Bishop ’22 had been feeling disconnected from normalcy over the past year. When she heard an announcement for Albany’s Tulip Queen competition on the radio, Bishop thought the pursuit might be a good way to reconnect. The Watervliet native and early childhood education major, described by her mom as “an overachiever in school, anything she does,” decided to throw her hat – or in this case, crown – in the ring.

Named Tulip Queen at Albany’s Tulip Festival in June 2021, Bishop plans to use her new platform to focus on community safety and raise awareness about the importance of community relationships, as well as foster literacy throughout the region. She is ably supported by her court, four outstanding young women who are committed to making a difference. Throughout Bishop’s yearlong reign, the Tulip Court will be involved in high-profile, high-impact volunteer projects and make appearances at public events.

The first Tulip Queen was named in May 1949, and there have been a few Saint Rose students who earned the title over the years (Jennifer Gould-Lobban in 2002, Juliana Hernandez in 2009, and Emily Barcia-Varno was Tulip Queen in 2019).

We caught up with Bishop to chat about her important post as an ambassador for the City of Albany – a beloved, iconic tradition as deeply rooted in the city’s history as the tulip itself.

How did you feel when you found out you’d won the title?

Honestly, it truly hasn’t settled in yet. But the moment it was announced, I felt an overwhelming mix of shock and elation to be standing in that position.

What are some things you’re looking forward to accomplishing as Tulip Queen, with the help of your court?

All of our talents are extremely unique. The five of us are dedicated to addressing the community violence that has been rampant in the Albany area. We hope to dedicate this year to new violence prevention projects and strengthening the bonds within our community, whether it’s done through small community events or working with established programs in the area.

What are some causes or issues that you’re dedicated to?

Myself, along with the 2021 court, have expressed our desire to bring awareness not only to the importance of community relationships but also the effect that those relationships have on our ability to feel safe and secure in our communities. Violence prevention is a priority for not only the 2021 Tulip Court but also Mayor Sheehan, who is relying heavily on the Albany community to come together in these trying times.

Our plans for addressing these issues are to engage our community in proactive projects that will help rebuild/strengthen our relationship with local authority, increase our sense of solidarity, and make it easier to recognize those who are in need or struggling.

We also look forward to working with some established organizations in the Albany region who have dedicated their efforts to violence prevention and education advocacy.

How has your Saint Rose experience helped you in your quest to make the world a better place?

Three years ago, I had no idea where I wanted to go to college. I was looking for a place that felt like home and would keep me close to my family while still allowing me some freedom to explore.

Saint Rose is right in the center of Albany, and it is surrounded by amazing small businesses and beautiful nature, and truly does feel like home. I have a strong connection with Albany because of Saint Rose, and I am inspired to make the world a better place in hopes that our small town will too reap the benefits.