Announcing the Black Alumni Network

Nearly three dozen Black and African American alumni have stepped forward to create the Black Alumni Network, a new organization that promises to strengthen and deepen the Episcopal community and support its students and alumni alike.

Working in tandem with the School, particularly Jonathan Lee ’01 , associate director of admissions, Rick Wilcox, associate director of institutional advancement, and Louis Smith, director of the Office of Community and Equity, these alumni met this summer and fall and dreamed of what such a network might look like. In the resulting mission statement, they said the group will aim to:

empower current students and alumni through mindful engagement, networking, advocacy, and mentorship in order to create a community of alumni that not only embodies the EHS principles of moral courage, courageous action, and intellectual courage but also engages the EHS community at large, fostering cultural awareness.

The network grew out of the national racial reckoning that began with this summer’s protests. EHS alumni of color talked among themselves and with School leaders about their experiences at Episcopal and as graduates. School trustees and leaders hosted a series of listening forums focused on the experiences of Black students at the School, and through the stories that alumni, students, and families shared, it became clear that the School was not living up to its commitment to be a community where all feel welcome and a sense of belonging. It also became clear that while their experiences were painful and difficult, these alumni care deeply about the School and its mission and wanted to work for its betterment.

“Being a Black student at EHS is an experience that is unlike any other, which can get lonely at times,” says Louis Tambue ’17, who drafted the mission statement along with Judellia Cole ’99, Aliyah Griffith ’11, and Blair Taylor ’99. “We wanted to foster a network that not only stood in solidarity for the young Black women and men of EHS but served as a representation for the limitless heights that they will reach in their lives outside of EHS.”

Others noted the network could help the School do more to facilitate connections with alumni who can support the Black students during their time on the Hill but also upon their entry to college and careers. Griffith says of her time at Episcopal: “I realized that I was not exposed to examples of black success post EHS. Once we graduated, we were solitary ships navigating the choppy waters of the outside world.”

She added: “My hope for the BAN is that we continue, in conjunction with the administration, to further an agenda of inclusion, belonging, and acceptance that is not only beneficial to the students of color, but the Episcopal community at large.”

Below are the names of individuals who have helped launch the network. If you are interested in learning more about the network, please contact Rick Wilcox. Also, see more about the network here, including profiles of some of the School’s distinguished Black and African American graduates.
Hadiyyah Abdul-Jalaal ’17
Sadiq Abubakar ’11
Nyantee Asherman ’11
Erek Barron ’92
Lester Batiste ’09
Harleigh Bean ’14
Jonathan Beane ’88
Tatiana Bennett ’06
William Braswell ’06
Cedric Bright ’81
KiYonna Carr ’03
Judellia Cole ’99
Heather Collins ’93
April Crosby ’94
Osé Djan ’15
Clarence Gaines ’76
Lela Gant ’96
Tier Gibbons ’11
Aliyah Griffith ’11
Maya Goree ’18
Roysworth Grant ’17
Andrea Hickman ’13
Foster Joseph III ’12
Lauryn King ’17
Jonathan Lee ’01
Sundi Lofty ’94
Jozette Moses ’17
Michael Otoo ’15
Bryan Peterson ’18
Malcolm Spaulding ’06
Louis Tambue ’17
Blair Taylor ’99
Raecine Williams ’07
Jared Young ’17