June 5, 2020

Dear BB&N Alumni/ae:

I first want to acknowledge my lateness in reaching out to you. I wrote to our students, families, faculty, and staff last Saturday ( letter included here ), to support and stand with them, in particular, those who identify as Black and/or African American and to speak against the recent incidents of racism and police brutality. But I neglected to bring you, the alumni/ae of our school, into the fold and for that I am truly sorry. I particularly want to apologize to our alumni/ae of color, some of whom have described to me the feelings of disenfranchisement that defined their BB&N experience. During this time when support from the institutions of which we are a part is so important, I would like to thank the members of our Alumni/ae Council who called me on my inaction. Their trust and belief in BB&N is inspiring, and I asked two of them to join me and Leila in this letter.


The lives of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and George Floyd matter—Black lives matter. We at BB&N stand in solidarity with all those who are affected by the insidious racism and inequities that persist in our society. And we commit ourselves to initiate and sustain conversations and actions throughout our broad community that promote equity and justice. We know that many of you in our alumni/ae community are doing crucial work on the front lines of confronting racism, injustice, and white supremacy. We see you and we admire your commitment and courage; your leadership represents the very best of BB&N. 

Earlier this week, we held virtual sessions for our students and faculty/staff to process these recent tragedies and share space for each other. Our Black and/or African-American students, families, colleagues, and alumni/ae are hurting, and have been for a long time. The grief, anger, and pain they are feeling is very deep and raw. Today, we want to make it clear that their pain is also our pain. Those of us who work at schools tend to frame issues through the lens of, “ What will this mean for the children under our care? How will this impact their lives? ” This anti-racist, anti-oppression work is THE most important challenge facing us to position the coming generations for better lives. We owe it to our children. We owe it to ourselves.

Now more than ever, it is clear that every institution needs to put racial equity and anti-racist action at the center of their work, and to do so in partnership with community members outside their walls. That imperative resonates deeply with BB&N’s mission: to promote scholarship, integrity, and kindness in diverse, curious, and motivated students, and to prepare students for lives of principled engagement in their communities and the world. This has manifested itself in a strong commitment to this work in our strategic plan and the creation of a six-person, B-12 Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Global Education office. Yet while promising strides have been made throughout our school’s history and in recent years, we at BB&N and on the Alumni/ae Council acknowledge that we still have far to go in our shared work toward promoting equity and justice.  

Additionally, the Alumni/ae Council has focused over the past two years on amplifying the narratives of alumni/ae of color and working to find common ground in their shared experiences and humanity. Last year, Milyna established the Alumni/ae of Color Affinity Group: a critical first step in creating space for all alumni/ae of color to connect, support one another, and provide accountability in the school’s work in becoming an anti-racist institution. Over the next year, these actions will be the highest priority of the Alumni/ae Council, with the full support of BB&N.

Right now, our most important responsibility—just as it was with our students and faculty/staff this past week— is to listen to you and support you . To that end, we will be hosting two virtual common spaces for alumni/ae next week: a Black/African American Affinity Space on Wednesday, June 10, from 5:30-7:00PM ( Zoom link here ); and an Open Space on Thursday, June 11, from 5:30-6:30PM ( Zoom link here ) .

If you are interested in joining the Alumni/ae Council’s efforts moving forward, please let us know. You can email Adam Zalisk with general interest and Milyna Phillips if you are interested in joining the Alumni/ae of Color group.

Please reach out to let us know if we can help in any way. 

Dr. Jennifer Price
Head of School

Adam Zalisk ’03
Chair, Alumni/ae Council
Leila Bailey-Stewart
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Global Education Officer

Milyna Phillips ’99
Founder, Alumni/ae of Color Affinity Group; Chair, Inclusion Committee