Tuesday, March 29, 2022

RVCC Robeson Institute to Present Exhibition, Author Reading and Discussion

Artists are Gatekeepers of the Truth: Social Justice Examined Through the Voice of Art

The Paul Robeson Institute for Ethics, Leadership, and Social Justice at Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg is planning upcoming events. The programs are free of charge and open to the public.

Paul Robeson—Renaissance Man

April 5, at 1 p.m
WHERE: Paul Robeson Resource Room in the College’s Evelyn S. Field Library, RVCC, 118 Lamington Road, Branchburg

The Robeson Institute will unveil artwork by Hillsborough artist Veronica Spruill. The 30" x 40" framed piece, Paul Robeson—Renaissance Man, a gallery-wrapped canvas, mixed-media dimensional painting, features multiple images that reflect Paul Robeson's personal achievements and efforts during the civil rights movement. The artwork will be on permanent display in the Paul Robeson Resource Room in the College’s Evelyn S. Field Library.

The Robeson Institute, in collaboration with the College’s Center for Gender & Sex Equity (CGSE), will present a virtual reading and discussion with Ross Gay, April 6, at 4 p.m. Gay is the author of four books of poetry: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; Be Holding; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. His latest poem, “Be Holding,” was released by the University of Pittsburgh Press in September 2020. His collection of essays, The Book of Delights, was released by Algonquin Books in 2019.

One of Gay’s most famous poems, “A Small Needful Fact,” was written in response to the death of Eric Garner, a Black man killed by a New York City police officer in 2014. In response, Garner's last words, "I can't breathe," became an anti-racist rallying cry. Gay’s poem alludes to these words and discusses the "small needful fact" that Garner was once a horticulturist—and that the oxygen-producing plants he nurtured in life may have made it easier for others to “breathe.” In this vein, Gay’s writing and poetry powerfully confront the pervasive nature of domination and oppression while also detailing delights, joys, and the often-unspoken systems of tenderness that sustain us. 

To register for the April 6 program, visit

For additional information about the programs or the Paul Robeson Institute for Ethics, Leadership, and Social Justice, contact Program Specialist Rhonda Stewart, 908-526-1200, ext. 8944.

RVCC is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. For further information, visit