Amherst College Portraits

A Community Collaboration with Wendy Ewald and Brett Cook

Rhonda Cobham-Sander Ariel Morales Susan Kimball

I’m part of the thing that the students pass through. That’s when it feels lonely and that’s the moment at which, as a person of color, you disappear, when you’re not there, when people don’t know who you are. Then I wonder what are the things that actually define me in this space? If I wasn’t a professor who would I be in this picture? I don’t know, but I love it when the students aren’t there. I can hoard all their ghosts in the buildings. 

You get all these amazing people from all over the country and you put them in one spot. They’re in a Petri dish and they just start frothing over the top. Some people get buried under it all of course, and there have been times when I’ve been buried under it too. 

What my parents really instilled in me is the ability to see everyone’s contribution and acknowledge it. It can be as small as learning the name of the staff person who empties your trash, the person who swipes your card at the dining hall, or the librarian who checks out your books. If someone uses my name that means a huge amount to me. It means I matter.