Check out the Rogue Community Diversity project gallery!
Inspired by a similar portrait series at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), the Diversity Programming Board (DPB) partnered with RCC graphic design students and many other contributors, to create the Rogue Community Diversity project. The project was combines the power of images and narrative to provide a glimpse into the individuals who make up our community and to celebrate their diversity.
When Jamee Harrington, assistant director of human resources and DPB member, learned about RISD’s project, Harrington thought that this would be a phenomenal way to provide an opportunity for faculty, staff, students and alumni to share parts of their own life story and combinations of identities and experiences. “At RCC, these stores intersect, overlap, and are bonded together by our shared passion for learning,” she said.
“The project reveals our shared humanity, while honoring our unique differences, and provides an authentic way for diverse members in our community to work side by side toward a shared vision,” added Jesseanne Pope, academic advisor and DPB member.
Cassie Steele, RCC student and the artist behind ‘Smiles are Contagious’, expressed that the Rogue Community Diversity project allowed her an outlet to connect the things she currently struggles with and what she has survived in a positive way. In addition to being a cancer survivor and having to battle depression and social anxiety, the artist had to relearn how to live when it was discovered that she was allergic to an array of foods and outdoor elements. Steele believes that people are often afraid of what they do not know or understand. She hopes people will be observant rather than cast judgment, be kind and loving, and share the free gift of a smile.
“My life has been full of constant starts and stops. I haven’t given up, I am a survivor and a silent warrior. I fight with a smile, because smiles are contagious,” Steele expressed.
The DPB intends to continue the Rogue Community Diversity project each year, holding a reveal event that includes a meet and greet with the participants and an unveiling of their portraits. The DPB also intends to display the portraits in locations where the students are most likely to engage in conversations, as well as have the prints be part of RCC’s official art catalog.
“Together, these stories create the beautifully unique differences while also revealing our shared humanity, and create a more inclusive campus environment,” said Harrington.