First Peoples Advising

Day of Absence & Day of Presence

Wednesday, April 8 & Friday, April 10, 2015

Every year, new and different programming is developed by the Day of Absence and Day of Presence Planning Committee. This year, the Day of Absence will take place on Wednesday, April 8th and the Day of Presence will be on Friday, April 10, 2014. We are hosting 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.

Last Year's Day of Absence and Day of Presence Workshops & Events Calendar

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, was a grassroots collective action by Evergreen staff and faculty of color in the early 1970s, sparked by a discussion of the play. In the decades following, it 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, the 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 events throughout the year, designed to increase our understanding of multicultural issues. 

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.

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 rashidal@evergreen.edu