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U.S. Constitution Day

U.S. Constitution Day
September 17, 2021

U.S. Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the United States Constitution by the thirty-nine state representatives at the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787. This day also recognizes all those who, by naturalization or birth, have become citizens.

Constitution Day Panel Discussion
Friday, September 17
9:30 am
Register Here

RISD invites students, faculty and staff to join a panel discussion around First Amendment issues and the Constitution in the classroom, the studio and the critique process.

How does the Constitution set forth the rights that we share as Americans in all places in its language and amendments? How does the First Amendment and the “IP Clause” of the Constitution work together to ideally promote diversity of expression and community resilience? How do the dynamics established by the American founders play out in classes, studios, and crits? What role can we, as artists and designers, play in challenging or furthering these discussions?


Renee Byas, RISD’s new General Counsel

Jessica Silbey, Professor of Law, Yanakakis Faculty Research Scholar at Boston University

Jared A. Goldstein, Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Roger Williams University School of Law

Greggory Keith Spence, Esq., Senior Advisor and Principal of Palladian Hill Strategies, former Vice President and General Counsel and University Professor at the New School and its Parsons School of Design and Brandeis University
Constitutional Resources

“The Constitution of the United States of America is the source and parent of all the other atrocities: 'a covenant with death, and an agreement with Hell.”
Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, July 4th 1854
Constitutional Amendments
We the People
“I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change in circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat that fitted him as a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”

Excerpt from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to John Adams in 1816 on the legacy of the Constitution.

Constitution Day Walking Tour

The RISD campus is surrounded by historic sites that have links to the Declaration of Independence, American Revolutionary War, and the U.S. Constitution. We have digitized the current Constitution Day walking tour by putting it into Google Maps and adding some information and pictures for each stop. We will continue to develop this walking tour as time progressed to add sites that represent a wider diversity of stories.

Click on the Red Pin at each location stop to see more information.
Voter Registration
It's never too early to register to vote, let your voice be heard!

If you would like to vote in Rhode Island you must submit a voter registration form with your local Board of Canvassers or online through the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s Voter Information Center.

Rhode Island has a voter identification law, however, you may use your RISD ID card as your proof of identification, even if you are a staff or faculty member. See the Rhode Island Board of Elections website for full details.
Democracy in Action
Kamala Harris Official Portrait

Vice President Kamala Harris

“Congressman John Lewis, before his passing, wrote “Democracy is not a state. It is an act.” And what he meant was that America’s democracy is not guaranteed. It is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it, to guard it and never take it for granted.”

November 7, 2020 Victory Speech, Vice President Kamala Harris, the first female Vice President, the first Black Vice President and the first South Asian Vice President.

“Our battle cry is Let My People Vote”

Congresswomen Shirley Chisholm

“I stand before you today as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency of the United States. I am not the candidate of Black America, although I am black and proud. I am not the candidate of the Women’s Movement of this country, although I am a woman, and I am equally proud of that. [sic] I do not intend to offer you the tired and glib clichés which for too long have been an accepted part of political life. I am the candidate of the people and my presence before you symbolizes a new era in American political history.”

January 25, 1972 Statement of Candidacy, Congresswomen Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to be elected to the United States Congress and the first black woman to run for President of the United States.