Day of Absence & Day of Presence

Every year, we invite the campus community to participate in two full days of activities designed to address current issues surrounding race at Evergreen and beyond.

Wednesday, April 12 and Friday, April 14, 2017

Day of Absence

History and Origins

The idea for the first Day of Absence came from a play of the same name by African American playwright, Douglas Turner Ward. Presented in 1965 as a “reverse minstrel show” (black actors in whiteface), the play is a social commentary on race relations in the U.S., and satirizes the South’s refusal to see African Americans as equal members of the community. In the play, a town wakes up to find all of its African American citizens have disappeared, leaving those left to reflect on the meaning of their community without these essential members.

The Day of Absence, as it was originally known, began in the 1970s when Faculty member Maxine Mimms, inspired by the play, approached administrator Stone Thomas about the idea of joining with other faculty and staff of color in spending a work day away from campus as a grassroots collective action. In the decades following, Day of Absence grew to become an opportunity for all students, faculty and staff at Evergreen to explore and celebrate the richness of our diversity by facilitating conversations about issues of difference. In 1992, Day of Presence was added in order to reunite the college community and honor diversity and unity as a whole campus.

Day of Absence and Day of Presence Today

Currently, although we still celebrate Day of Absence and Day of Presence with two full days of activities every Spring quarter, we also sponsor a variety of events and 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.

Each year, the Day of Absence and Day of Presence Planning Committee develops a new program of events and workshops to address current issues surrounding race at Evergreen and beyond. This committee is open to the entire campus, and anyone who is interested is invited to participate.

Day of Absence

On Day of Absence, members of the Evergreen community have choices about how and where to participate. 

Off campus, at a community venue, we host a full-day program focusing on allyship and anti-racism work from a majority culture or white perspective.

At the same time, we offer a full-day, on-campus educational and social program designed to address issues from the perspective of people of color.

Because of the need for a dedicated space to explore issues of diversity within each of these two perspectives, each program has been designed with a specific community-building objective in mind. And because many of us are mixed, and may not wholly identify ourselves with one community or the other, we invite each person to attend the program of their choice, wherever they feel most comfortable.

Day of Absence On Campus 2017 Schedule at a Glance

Designed to address issues from the perspective of people of color.

8:30–8:45am—Check-In (Longhouse)

8:45–9:30am—Blessing and Breakfast  (Longhouse)

9:30–10:45am—Presentation by Dr. Maxine Mimms and Stone Thomas  (Longhouse)

11:00am–12:30pm—Morning Workshop Sessions (Purce Hall)

12:30–2:00pm—Lunch (Longhouse)

2:00–3:30pm—Afternoon Workshop Sessions (Purce Hall)

3:45–5:00pm—Closing Keynote (Purce Hall)

6:00pm—Screening of Moonlight (Purce Hall - Lecture Hall 1)

Day of Absence Off Campus 2017 Schedule at a Glance

Designed to focus on allyship and anti-racism work from a majority culture or white perspective .

8:00am—Carpool or take bus from Evergreen Olympia Campus to DOA off Location

9:00–10:00am—Arrival and Welcoming

10:00am–1:00pm—Morning Session

1:00-2:00pm—Potluck Lunch

2:30–4:00pm—Afternoon Session

4:00–4:30pm—Large Group Closing

4:30–5:30pm—Back to Evergreen for 6:00pm screening of Moonlight in Purce Hall, Lecture Hall 1

Day of Presence

On Day of Presence, the campus reunites on campus to share ideas with each other as allies. Designed with the entire campus community in mind.

Day of Presence 2017 Schedule at a Glance

8:00–8:45am—Check-In (CRC)

8:45–10:30am—Welcome Ceremony and Keynote: Jeff Duncan Andrade (CRC)

10:45–12:15pm—Morning Workshop Session (see PDF schedule below)

12:30–1:30pm—Lunch & Afro-Caribbean Steel Drum performance (CRC)

1:45–3:15pm—Afternoon Workshop Session (see PDF schedule below)

3:15–5:00pm—Concert, DJ, & Community Art Project (Red Square)



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 Multicultural Advising Services, (360) 867-6467.