April 25 and 27, 2012
Every year, new and different programming is developed by the Day of Absence and Day of Presence Planning Committee. The committee is comprised of interested students, staff, and faculty. We offer a variety of activities throughout the year created to hone our discussion and analytical skills in regards to the complex and vital issues of Race, Inclusion, Diversity, Privilege, Allyship and their intersections.
Origins and Themes
History of Day of Absence and Day of Presence
The idea for the Day of Absence came from a play of the same name by African American playwright, Douglas Turner Ward. In the play, a scathing satire, the African American members of a community mysteriously disappear for 24 hours. Those who are left are forced to reflect on the meaning and consequences of life without an integral part of their community. For the curious, copies of his play are available for loan from the office of First Peoples Advising Services.
The first Day of Absence, celebrated originally in the mid 70′s, was a unity dinner, primarily for Evergreen’s African-American community members. From that dinner, the campus Day of Absence was born, an event that grew to become an off-campus educational and rejuvenating retreat where all of Evergreen’s students, staff and faculty of color were invited to attend. In addition, while the community of color was off-campus, white allies began to offer a full day of programming on campus around identity development and anti-oppression work.
The concept has grown to include the Day of Presence programming which represents the reuniting of our entire community and an opportunity to share ideas with each other as allies around the issues of multiculturalism and community strength.
Why the need for separation?
One of the questions we are often asked is, “Why do you feel the need to be separate? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?” The departure which takes place on Day of Absence is easier to understand if seen from the perspective of coalition and community-building. For people of color, the opportunity we have in the larger society to explore ideas, problems and solutions to issues of diversity in our own community without having to explain, defend or interpret our perspectives, is rare, precious and absolutely essential. This retreat gives the campus community of color one day in the year when we can work together as a learning community, in a setting in which we are not the numerical minority. At the same time, it is also equally important for our white allies to have a space for themselves dedicated to discuss these same issues of inclusiveness, identity, ally-ship and community.
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Learn More by Becoming Involved!
Help Evergreen continue this tradition of focusing on the essential nature of diversity and anti-oppression work. For questions or more information please contact: First Peoples Advising Services, 360-867-6467 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Day of Absence – Wednesday, April 25
Community of Color Programming from 1-8pm at the Tacoma Campus. Contact Raquel Salinas at email@example.com to reserve a space. Includes Welcome; Workshop on Transformative Justice with Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Concurrent Programs include Mixed Race Identity Caucus, MEChA led discussion about the Raza Studies program which was part of the Tucson School District and the current ban on Ethnic Studies in Arizona , The Conciliation Project (TCP) and BSU rehearsal for a Reading of Day of Absence; Potluck; TCP & BSU Reading of Day of Absence
What Do You Want to Learn About White Anti-racism and How Are You Going to Learn It? with Lori Blewett, Faculty from 1-2 pm in C2105
Google Search: Racism with Andrea Seabert Olsen, Senior Conduct Officer, and Just Reuter, Resident Director, from 1:30-3pm in B1105
White Privilege: You Don’t Leave Home Without It! with The Conciliation Project from 2-4:30 pm in 2107
What Does it Mean to be a White Ally: How Do People Really Do This? fishbowl seminar and discussion from 3-4:30pm in E1105
Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack: Art into Action with Molly Bess from 4:30-5:30pm in E1107
Potluck!: Let’s Have a Meal Together from 5-6pm in C1107
The Construction of Whiteness: Institutional Racism and How White Privilege Keeps it in Place with Martin Friedman of the People’s Institute Northwest from 6-8pm in C1105
April 26, 2012
Transformative Justice with Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha from 2-5pm in the Longhouse 1007A
Queering Activism/Performing Intersectionality with Joe Kadi & Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha from 6-9pm in Lecture Hall 1
Day of Presence – Friday, April 27
Welcome at 8:30 am in D2107
Generational Healing with the Multicultural Counseling Program from 9-11am in D2107
Identity Project: Identity Pieces Art Exhibit Opening from Noon-1pm and 5-6pm in Library Lobby, 2nd Floor
Holistic Visions Require Appropriate Theories: The Power of Intersectionality with Joe Kadi from 1-3pm in Lecture Hall 3
Film and Discussion: Birthmarks with Naima and William Lowe from 3-5pm in C1105
Performance by The Conciliation Project from 6-8 pm in the Library Lobby, 2nd Floor