Given the social, political and economic upheaval of the last few years, the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle Class wanted of 2022 its banner to be about something different: remembrance.
Remembrance of both those who died in the COVID-19 pandemic and those who gave their lives to champion social causes like the Black Lives Matter movement.
Today, the Class of 2022, otherwise known as Phoenix Rising, will graduate from the CLSC — a class which, incidentally includes Chautauqua’s Michael I. Rudell Director of Literary Arts Sony Ton-Aime.
“I feel very fortunate to be part of this tradition, this legacy of serious readers: people who understand reading as more than leisure,” he said. “For them, reading is an active thing.”
Ton-Aime said that because of the class name and motto, the Class of 2022’s honorees are “all those people we lost and those who suffered.”
“We do not want to just move forward without truly realizing the nature of this moment,” he said. “Everyone that we have lost in the past two years, we are remembering them.”
Recognition Day — a day of festivities and processions at Chautauqua — is at the heart of Recognition Week, four days of events celebrating the CLSC and its graduates at all levels of the Guild of the Seven Seals.
The week began Sunday with a baccalaureate service at the Service of Worship and Sermon, and then with a Vigil Ceremony that ended at the Hall of Philosophy, where the class poem, written collectively, “Step Over the Threshold,” was read.