On Monday this week (June 15th), RISD President Rosanne Somerson announced that for the first time in its history, RISD would close on Friday June 19th in observance of Juneteenth. This is a hopeful and important step for the college in working toward greater recognition of and action on the systemic racism that must be eradicated from all quarters.

 

It has been 155 years since Emancipation. As the late Texas Representative and civil rights leader Al Edwards wrote: “Every year we must remind successive generations that this event triggered a series of events that one by one defines the challenges and responsibilities of successive generations. That’s why we need this holiday.” 

 

Holidays mark culturally significant events and turning points. Significance was acknowledged 155 years ago. In 2020, we have the opportunity to establish the turning point at which action and commitment advance intention. 

 

CfC is pleased to support the decision of our College leadership, and by taking June 19, 2020 as a holiday from our normal order of business, to join in the celebration of freedom from slavery. Closing remarks for our symposium will be available here on Monday, June 22nd. 

 

“We shall demonstrate once again that in this great, inventive land man’s idlest dreams are but the blueprints and mockups of emerging realities, technologies and poems. Here in the fashion of our pioneer forefathers, who confronted the mysteries of wilderness, mountain and prairie with crude tools and a self-generating imagination, we are committed to facing with courage the enormous task of imposing an ever more humane order upon this bewilderingly diversified and constantly changing society. Committed we are to maintaining its creative momentum.” ― Ralph Ellison, Juneteenth