Brandeis Alumni, Family and Friends

Standing in Solidarity and Taking Action for Racial Justice

June 10, 2020

A message of solidarity from the Brandeis Alumni Association

The Brandeis University Alumni Association mourns the cruel and senseless killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and all others who have been the victims of anti-Black racism and violence in the U.S.
We stand in solidarity with the Black community in the fight against systemic racism and in the pursuit of social and racial justice. The fight for justice is deeply embedded in Brandeis’ history, as President Liebowitz reinforced in his latest message.

Last week, more than 700 members of the Brandeis community gathered virtually to attend “Coming Together Against Systemic Racism” and to engage with one another around these issues. To our Black students, alumni, faculty and staff who bravely spoke up about the racialized interactions they’ve experienced on the Brandeis campus and beyond: We hear you and we commit to helping dismantle anti-Blackness at Brandeis.
The resounding takeaway from the call is a need for action more than words. As an Alumni Association more than 60,000 members strong, imagine the collective impact we could have if each one of us commits to taking action.
In keeping with Brandeis’ founding values of social justice and inclusivity, we need to advance racial justice through meaningful steps, both large and small. As Alumni Association board members, we will:

  • Provide ongoing training sessions about systemic racism, unconscious bias and prejudice, led by internal and external experts, for all Alumni Association board members and Alumni Relations staff. The Brandeis Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion has committed to leading the first session.
  • Reevaluate board policies, programs and initiatives to ensure racial equity. For example, we will examine our board member nomination process to identify opportunities to increase racially and ethnically diverse applicants.
  • Support student, faculty and staff-led initiatives to reduce and eliminate campus policing practices and community behaviors that negatively impact Black students.
As individuals, we invite our fellow alumni to join us in participating in these immediate ways:
  • Attend an important virtual panel with Brandeis faculty this Friday, June 12, at noon ET, “America’s Racial Reckoning: Black Lives and Black Futures in Historical, Political and Legal Context,” moderated by Chad Williams, the Samuel J. and Augusta Spector Chair in History and the Chair of the African and African American Studies department. Panelists include: University Professor Anita Hill; Daniel Kryder, the Louis Stulberg Chair in Law and Politics; and Leah Wright Rigueur, the Harry Truman Associate Professor of History.

  • Review this list of opportunities to support, learn and engage provided by the Brandeis Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at last week’s virtual gathering.
  • Education is a powerful tool. To build upon the list above, we’re collecting additional resources produced by Brandeisians around race, combatting racism and how to enact change. Submissions include scholarly articles, literature and children's books; films, paintings and other works of art; and websites, organizations and institutes.
  • While we can’t control the actions of others, we can control our own. We encourage all alumni to think of one individual action you will commit to taking to advance racial justice in your community. We plan to publish an online list of our submissions to showcase the collective power of the Brandeis network.

Whether it is through steps like these or the many other efforts by individual and organizational change makers, we must act. Our participation matters. Black lives matter.

In solidarity,

The Brandeis University Alumni Association Board of Directors

Daniel Acheampong ’11, BOLD National Co-Chair

Shota Adamia ’15

Pamela K. Anderson ’79

Elizabeth Fields Asen ’13

Rebecca Bachman ’13, BOLD National Co-Chair

Amy Bard ’79

Samantha Barrett ’20

Jessica Bergman ’91, FOBA President

Denise Silber Brooks ’84, P’16

Lewis Brooks ’80, P’16, President

Gabi Burkholz ’21

Christine Chilingerian ’07, Co-President, Alumni Club of Philadelphia and Southern NJ

Joel Christensen ’01, Faculty Representative

Amy L. Cohen ’85, Vice President and Co-Chair, Brandeis Women’s Network

Susan Deutsch ’62

Yaron Dori ’92

Daniela Egan ’04, Co-President, Alumni Club of Greater Boston

Jim Felton ’85

Jennifer Gibson, IBS MBA’12

Serena Gober ’07, President, Alumni Club of South Florida

Alex Goldstein ’06

Alexander P. Heckler ’98

Liane Hypolite ’10, Co-Chair, Alumni of Color Network

Dmitry Isenberg ’97, President, Alumni Club of Connecticut

Francyne Davis Jacobs ’95, President, Alumni Club of Houston

Kai Keller ’07

Fred Kessler ’75, P’10

Carolyn Gray Kimberlin ’99

Leslie Effron Levin ’94, President, Alumni Club of Westchester County, New York and Southern Connecticut

Risa Levine ’83, Vice President

Napoleon Lherisson ’11, Co-Chair, Alumni of Color Network

Amy Merrill ’69, Co-Chair, Brandeis Arts Network

David Morris ’96, Chair, Brandeis Lawyers Network

Jose Perez ’75, Vice President

Brandon Pick ’08, Vice President, FOBA

Talee Zur Potter ’97, Co-Chair, Brandeis Women’s Network

Noah Prawer ’01

Steven W. Rabitz ’92

Janna Rosenberg ’02

Len Rosenberg ’89, President, Alumni Club of Northern California

Alyssa Sanders ’89

Jonathan Sclarsic ’03

Antony Stern ’08, IBS MA’09

Mark Surchin ’78, Immediate Past President

Vipin Suri, PhD’01

Hanna Switlekowski ’13, Co-President, Alumni Club of Greater Boston

Steve Wander ’97, President, Alumni Club of Chicago

Shen Wang ’20

Brett Ward ’97, President, Alumni Club of New York City

Ora Wexler ’04, Co-President, Alumni Club of Toronto

Shelly Wolf ’64

Andrew Zeitlin ’90, P’22

Michael Zinder ’75