COA Director Responds to Rasphody In Black Event

Dear EGHS Students, 

On behalf of the board of the Cultural Organization of the Arts, I would like to address the events that took place on Friday, March 12, 2021 related to the COA sponsored, Rhapsody in Black program at East Greenwich High School.

The COA board and I are truly sorry for any harm caused to EGHS students as a result of the racist, sexist and disrespectful remarks that appeared on the live chat on Friday. Our goal was to bring arts education to you, in partnership with your school administrators and teachers, and support a much-needed and important conversation about race and identity. Despite our filters,  the platform became an unsafe space for this conversation.  We deeply regret any suffering this caused and we will do more in the future to safeguard people, especially young people of color, from exposure to hate speech.

We are deeply proud of the students who spoke up in real-time during the Q&A to flood the chat with positivity and gratitude for the gift of LeLand Gantt’s play. COA stands in support of the students of ASAPP who have organized formally to speak out against racism. We are grateful to Mr. Hopkins and Mrs. Meyer for their response to the events that took place on Friday, both in their support of the Rhapsody in Black program as well as their stringent response to the individuals who hijacked the live chat. We appreciate the members of the EGHS community who have reached out asking for more information about fundraising opportunities and donations. We are hearing from students who want to volunteer to help COA in the wake of Friday’s events. ALL of this is a very positive sign that you see that there is work to be done and that you are rolling up your sleeves to pitch in. 

COA will continue to bring arts programs like Rhapsody in Black to East Greenwich schools and we will continue to be an ally for change. For more information about how you can support anti-racist efforts locally, please visit these websites:

RI Chapter of the NAACP

The RI Chapter of Black Lives Matter


Valerie Remillard

COA, Executive Director