Black Alumni Reunion
September 21 – 23, 2018

Reunion schedule of events

Three days of community, collaboration, and boundary-pushing conversations.

Get familiar with all that’s planned for this year’s Black Alumni Reunion on the first weekend of fall in beautiful Providence.

Note: Times, locations, and details are subject to change.

Friday, September 21

Van Wickle Gates

Reunion Registration − Maddock Alumni Center

Noon – 10 pm

Brown’s beautifully restored Maddock Alumni Center serves as the hospitality center for the weekend. Pick up your name tag and reunion favor when you arrive on campus. The center will be open throughout the weekend.

Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice Exhibition

1 – 2 pm

Join fellow alumni for a special curator-led tour of The Civil Rights Movement: Unfinished Business, which explores the history and legacies of the Southern Freedom Movement. Using archival material, music, and first-person accounts, the exhibition examines the history of the African American political organizing tradition and helps visitors make connections to contemporary movements for racial equality.

Achieving Black Health Equity: Innovators Who Produce Optimal Health for All

1 – 3 pm

What new approaches do we need to achieve Black health equity? Hear from leading health innovators—all Brown graduates—who will share their strategies to close the unequal health outcomes gap through research, policy, advocacy, and practice. Panelists will engage in an interactive discussion with younger alumni peers about career strategies that can help drive health equity for all.

Moderators: Joseph Diaz MPH’09 MD’96, Associate Dean for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University; Caroline Kuo, Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Brown University School of Public Health; Surrenthia Parker ’84, Orthopedic Surgeon, Inman Page Black Alumni Council Representative

Panelists: Morayo O. Akande ’16 MPH’17; Nicole E. Alexander-Scott MPH’11 F’09, Director, Rhode Island Department of Health; Griffin P. Rodgers ’76 MMSc’79 MD’79, Director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; Cedric Bright ’85, Assistant Dean for Inclusive Excellence, Admissions and Special Programs, and Associate Professor, University of North Carolina

Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice Graduate Fellows Panel Discussion: Making the History of Slavery Relevant

2:15 – 4 pm

Each year the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice supports a masters-level fellowship for students committed to working on slavery and public history. This panel will bring together alumni of the Graduate Fellows program to discuss their current work in museums, universities, and cultural organizations that focus on race and racism, and retrospective justice.

Moderator: Anni Pullagura AM’16 PhD’20

Panelists (CSSJ Graduate Fellows for the Public History of Slavery): Krystal Appiah ’95 AM’11; Arielle J. Brown AM’17; Maiyah Gamble-Rivers AM’16; Elon Cook Lee AM’14; Jazzmen Lee-Johnson AM’15

Reception and Conversations that Tackle Urgent Health Priorities

3 – 4 pm

Come together for discussions across all class years and all disciplines. Dive into conversations with alumni, faculty, and students committed to tackling the world’s most urgent health priorities, and plant the seeds for future innovations that will ensure equal treatment in health care.

Reception and Tour of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice

4:15 – 5 pm

Enjoy a special reception at the Center’s 19th-century house. View the exhibition currently on display in the gallery, Herstory, by 2018 Heimark Artist-in-Residence Jessica Hill, which includes the stunning glass wall-art piece Rising to Freedom and a symbolic slave garden. Herstory examines the resilience of Black women throughout history while referencing folktales created through the Middle Passage and the communities formed by enslaved people in the New World.

Ceremony to Honor Ancestors

5 – 6 pm

As the opening of the Black Alumni Reunion nears, honor those who came before us at the Slavery Memorial located outside University Hall, the oldest building on campus, which was built with slave labor. This memorial recognizes Brown University’s connection to the transatlantic slave trade and the work of Africans and African-Americans—enslaved and free—who helped build our university, Rhode Island, and the nation.

Reunion Opening Walkout Reflection and Impact

6:15 – 10:30 pm

President Christina Paxson, the Black Alumni Reunion Steering Committee, and the Inman Page Black Alumni Council’s new leadership will welcome and join you for a jazz dinner buffet. Socialize and catch up with fellow alumni under the tent on Ruth Simmons Quad! We will reconnect and remember the 1968 Black Student Walkout through a conversation with Walkout participants and a representative of the historic Congdon Street Baptist Church. How did this seminal Black student activism influence Brown, affect the participants, and shape their lives? Their courage will be celebrated and honored with special stoles.

Moderator: Sheryl (Grooms) Brissett Chapman ’71

Participants: Gail S. DeCosta ’69; Glenn T. Dixon ’70; Kenneth B. Grooms ’72; Gary L. Harris ’72, P’02, P’09; Ido Jamar ’69 ScM’74 PhD’77; Ken McDaniel ’69, P’13; Zylpha K. Pryor-Bell ’72; Daniel J. Thompson Jr. ’70; Reverend Justin R. Lester, MA, M.Div.

Brown vs. Harvard Football Game

7 pm kickoff

The storied rivalry continues.

Saturday, September 22

smiling crowd

Reunion Registration – Maddock Alumni Center

7:30 am – 9:30 pm

Pick up your name tag and reunion favor when you arrive on campus.

Reunion! A Family Affair: Breakfast Gathering

8 – 8:30 am

Plenary Session: Promoting Inclusivity on College Hill and Beyond

8:30 – 10:45 am

Alumni trustee Jeffrey Hines ’83 MD’86 will moderate a lively discussion with Provost Richard M. Locke; Professor Tricia Rose AM’87 PhD’93, P’14, Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America; and Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity Shontay Delalue on Brown’s progress toward the goals of the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP). Alumni stakeholders continue to engage in dialogue on the progress made while recognizing the challenges to achieving the DIAP’s goals.

Moving on to the arts, theatre director/educator Benny Sato Ambush ’73 will engage longtime BET Chairman and CEO Debra Lee ’76 LHD’14 hon., along with two-time Pulitzer-winning playwright Lynn Nottage ’86 DFA’11 hon., P’20, in a spirited conversation about the Black artist movement in America and its implications for promoting inclusivity across all media. What are the next frontiers? What barriers and challenges persist? What are the implications for fostering the next generation of Black talent?

Concurrent Workshops

11 am – 12:15 pm

Please choose one.

Workshop A — Technology for Societal Impact

How do we solve bias, harassment, and discrimination in the workplace? How do we use computing and math to protect privacy and civil liberties? Technology has become the most powerful tool to create change in the world. Influential Brown alumni and faculty working at the intersection of technology and society will discuss how tech and science can help solve some of our most vexing societal problems, reach more people, and create more impact than ever.

Moderator: Ugur Cetintemel, Chair, Computer Science Department, Brown University

Speakers: Lisa Gelobter ’91, CEO and Founder, tEQuitable; Seny Kamara, Associate Professor, Computer Science Department, Brown University

Workshop B — Intergenerational Perspectives on Being Black at Brown

What has it been like to be Black at Brown in different periods? Explore both the shared and distinctly unique experiences of Black Brunonians across the generations. What are some of the challenges we faced upon matriculation? How have they influenced our identity?

Facilitator: Alyce G. Johnson ’74, Interim Institute Community Equity Officer and Manager, Staff Diversity and Inclusion, MIT

Workshop C — Blacks, the Economy, and Wealth

This pointed exchange will address factors involved in the intergenerational transmission of wealth as well as the well-documented structural racial inequality and racial wealth differences. How significant are individual income, home ownership, education, parental wealth, ancestral origin, and work in wealth distribution? What are the implications of the current economy for differences in the net wealth and asset position for Blacks? Most importantly, what race-neutral or race-specific policies and practices would effectively address the persistent racial wealth gap?

Moderator: Harold Bailey, Jr. ’70 LHD’95 hon.

Presenter: Vicki L. Bogan ’91 AM’00 PhD’04, Associate Professor, Director, Institute for Behavioral and Household Finance, Cornell University

Workshop D — Black Empowerment and Influence Across Generations

How has the influence of Black leaders in politics and policy changed over time? What paths have Brown graduates taken in these realms and how have they succeeded? What obstacles to Black advancement have subsided, and what obstacles remain? Brown alumni, students, and faculty members will discuss the impact Brown has had on their individual advancement and address issues of concern to the Black community at Brown and beyond.

Moderator: Wendy J. Schiller, Ph.D. ADE’02 hon., Chair, Political Science Department, Brown University

Panelists: Raisa M. Cramer ’16, JD candidate, Harvard Law School; Gavin H. Logan ’07, Telecommunications Fellow, National Urban League; Joel I. Payne ’05, Senior Communications and Political Strategist, MWWPR

Workshop E — Race and Sports

Recent events have sparked national debate about racism and social activism in professional sports. Going back to the Negro League era in baseball, there has been controversy about white ownership and Black athletes, financial success versus exploitation, and Black access to the front office post-retirement. How does our society overcome the barriers that prevent Black athletes from realizing professional sports’ maximum social and economic benefits, including team ownership and management? How do we ensure they have the freedom to participate in and lead social protest and change? This panel will identify contemporary issues facing Black athletes today and suggest potent solutions.

Moderator: Kathleen E. Sharp ’94, CEO, The SharpDoc, PLLC

Presenters: Dennis M. Coleman, ’75, Partner, Ropes & Gray; N. Jeremi Duru, Esq. ’95, Professor of Law, American University; Jennifer Hunter, Associate Director of Athletics for Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives, Brown University

Lunch on your own

Noon – 1:30 pm

Make plans with fellow alumni to have lunch on Thayer Street, the legendary thoroughfare where, as students, we spent hours watching movies, eating, and walking to class.

Intercultural Legacy Narratives: Social Action, Equity, and Diversity Across Communities

1:30 – 2:45 pm

Reunion Co-chair Sheryl Brissett Chapman ’71 will open this session, introducing the leaders of several alumni affinity communities for a dynamic exchange on the intercultural aspects and intersectionality of student activism at Brown. How did the 1968 Black Student Walkout influence the evolution of other major student-led movements at the University? What are the unique narratives of each affinity group that propel our shared journey toward a truly inclusive Brown? How have Brown’s student activists leveraged their differences for collective power?

Moderator: Shane L. Lloyd, MPH ’11, Assistant Director, Yale University Afro American Cultural Center

Participants: Jessica Brown ’16, Alexandra D. Carr ’06, Makini D. Chisolm-Straker ’05 MD’09, and Natasha M. Korgaonkar ’02

Concurrent Workshops

3 – 4:30 pm

Please choose one.

Workshop A — Leadership: Breaking Through the Physical Sciences

Women “breakthrough” leaders in science and computing will describe their individual ladders to success in male-dominated STEM disciplines. Find out how they overcame society’s assumptions about race, gender, expertise, qualifications, and their culturally defined presence as authorities. What strategies helped them achieve their personal and professional goals? How can women in STEM fields, especially women of color, minimize the risk of isolation, typecasting, and low morale?

Moderator: Gelonia L. Dent ScM’97 PhD’99, Adjunct Assistant Professor and Director, The Science Center

Presenter: Andrea I. Razzaghi ’82, Deputy Director of Astrophysics at NASA Headquarters

Workshop B — Telling Us Who We Are: The Importance of Black Arts, Media, and Culture Today

This conversation among alumni artists, journalists, and producers considers the important and changing role of media, art, and storytelling in shaping community and racial and ethnic imaginations in contemporary society. A special reception immediately follows at the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America.

Moderator: Tricia Rose AM’87 PhD’93, P’14, Chancellor's Professor of Africana Studies, Associate Dean of the Faculty for Special Initiatives, Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, Brown University

Panelists: Brickson E. Diamond ’93, Co-Founder, The Blackhouse Foundation and Chief Executive Officer, Big Answers, LLC; Tanya K. Hernandez ’86, P’20, Archibald R. Murray Professor of Law, Fordham University; Scott Poulson-Bryant ’08, Assistant Professor of English, Fordham University; Doreen St. Félix ’14, Staff Writer, The New Yorker

Workshop C — Social Justice on the Edge: Evolving Perspectives

Are “ban the box” policies unintentionally racist? The discussion focuses on the hotly debated policy in which employers are not allowed to ask about criminal records on job applications. How does the policy affect the odds of finding work among young, low-skilled Black and Latino males? What is the basis for other disparities that affect this population, i.e., police shootings, constitutional rights, drug sentencing, and domestic violence? What are the broad and most significant policy implications?

Moderator: Preston C. Tisdale ’73, P’10, P’10 MPH’16 MD’16, P’12

Presenters: Terry-Ann Craigie, Assistant Professor of Economics, Connecticut College; Carolyn Wade Blackett ’79, First Female African American Senior Criminal Court Judge for the State of Tennessee

Workshop D — The Double Bind of Racial and Economic Inequality in Education

Fifty years ago, in response to a divided nation of “one black, one white,” the presidential Kerner Commission recommended sweeping reform to confront “pervasive discrimination in employment, education, and housing.” Today, the racial and income gaps in education and other opportunities remain a challenge. This panel will critically discuss innovative strategies to address the opportunity gap.

Moderator: Kenneth K. Wong ADE’06 hon., P’10, Walter and Leonore Annenberg Professor of Education Policy, Brown University

Panelists: Prudence L. Carter ’91, Dean of the Graduate School of Education at University of California Berkeley; Wendell E. Pritchett ’86, P’22, Provost, University of Pennsylvania

Workshop E — Making Life Better for Humans: Physics and Public Policy

What are the practical implications of a flexible, versatile recognition of the potential for theoretical physics to shape public policy? The presenter will explore how training as a physicist enables him to advocate for social justice at extraordinary levels. How can we enhance the reliance on more science in the forensic science field, establish policy frameworks for the integration of climate change for business and investment practices within a university, or inform the deliberations of a Supreme Court justice as he makes judicial decisions? Hear a perspective on the unexpected capacity of physics to influence and contribute to society.

Presenters: Gang Xiao ADE'96 hon., Physics Department Chair, Professor of Physics, Professor of Engineering, Director of Nanoscience and Soft Matter, Brown University; S. James Gates, Ford Foundation Professor of Physics, Presidential Scholars Program Co-Director, Brown University

Workshop F — Conversations Matter: Curating Intersectional Truths and Fostering Good Faith

Join the Chaplain’s Office and members of its Advisory Group for a conversation and exchange about Brown’s Center for Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT). Brown’s chaplaincy was one of only 10 campuses awarded a three-year grant for this work last fall from the American Association of Colleges and Universities. Brown colleagues and partners in multiple settings are engaging at the intersections of race and religion to address racial injury or silence. Initiatives include a monthly student Soulfood Gathering, a graduate student supper with new faculty of color, a monthly Muslim Women of Color group, and a session with colleagues on this methodology of racial healing circles.

Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA) Alumni Open House Reception

4:30 – 5:30 pm

Please join CSREA for an Open House reception with light refreshments.

A Spoken Word Performance: WALKOUT

5 – 6:30 pm

This Rites and Reason production, directed by Elmo Terry-Morgan ’74, incorporates the unique perspectives of 11 women and men from among the 65 who walked out of Brown on December 5, 1968, to protest the small number of Black students admitted to the University and the corresponding lack of academic and social support. Researched and written by Sheryl (Grooms) Brissett Chapman, ’71, Black music of 1968 is interwoven with spoken word and the sounds of Detroit and John Coltrane. Vincent “VT” Thomas ’73 of WBRU fame will place the walkout in historical and musical perspective as we recall the political events occurring across the country and at Brown. Young alumni will respond on open mic.

Black Alumni Reunion All-Class Photo

6:30 pm

All reunion attendees are invited to participate in this memorable photo.

Reunion Celebration: The Making of Black Legacy - Dinner

7 – 9:30 pm

Join a celebratory evening with President Paxson and watch as leaders of the Inman Page Black Alumni Council (IPC) present the inaugural Black Legacy Award to President Emerita Ruth J. Simmons LHD’12 hon, who has inspired us to honor the legacy contributions of Black folks, not only at Brown but also in the national and world arenas. Following a festive buffet dinner and remarks from President Christina Paxson, President Simmons will deliver a keynote address. The evening will conclude with a student a cappella performance.

Funk Nite

10 pm – 12:30 am

Groove to the best music of the ’70s through today at this revival of a popular Brown tradition. Snacks and cash bar available. Don’t forget to wear your entry pass (a.k.a. your name tag)!

Sunday, September 23

festive lanterns

Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 10 am

Reflect on this memorable weekend with friends old and new as you start the day.

Sunday Worship and Celebration

10 am – Noon

We will close the Reunion on a high note with acclaimed spiritual life coach Iyanla Vanzant addressing the powerful topic: Spiritual Recovery and the Black Community, From Broken Pieces and Trauma to Peace and Fulfillment. An inspirational musical medley by members of Brown’s combined Black choirs, directed by Loni Berry ’76 AM ’89, as well as vocal performances by Branice N. McKenzie ’74 and Katani A. Sumner ’85, will complete this final gathering for the Black Alumni Reunion of 2018.

Brown University Inman Page Black Alumni Council © 2018 Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA