October 2, 2020

Dear Alums,

We wanted to give you an update on the Alumnae Board’s actions and intentions in addressing anti-Black Racism and more broadly becoming a truly inclusive, multicultural community.

The Alumnae Board met several times over the summer to discuss the feedback from individual alums, Classes as groups, BlackatBrearley representatives, The Miller Society and others in our community, including Brearley administrators. The Alumnae Board hosted two Town Halls in August where we heard from Jane Fried, the Board of Trustees co-chairs of the Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the Director of Equity and Community Engagement. Those forums were earnest, open and illuminating, driven mostly by questions from the alum community. If you missed it, watch the August 17th Town Hall (login required).

The Alumnae Board also developed and ratified our own Antiracism Priorities (see below). We thought it important to take a hard look at our programming, decisions and voices of the Alum Board and to commit to sustained change where needed. This work is separate from the School’s action plans (login required), which were shared over the summer, although related and in line with the School’s efforts.

There was deliberate thought and care that informed the Alumnae Board’s initiatives, and we are aware that this is a living document that may change as we learn more, as we evolve and as we address the process of becoming an antiracist and inclusive community. We have started to mobilize around the priorities, identifying fellow alums who will help lead and support this work. We welcome you to be part of this journey with us by volunteering your energy and skills, providing feedback on our priorities, or sharing your story.

The Alumnae Association will be hosting additional programs aimed at supporting our alums who want to learn more about antiracism and inclusion. We will continue to communicate our updates.

Thank you.

Amina C. Elderfield ‘94
Alumnae Board President

The Brearley School Mission Statement
The Brearley School challenges girls of adventurous intellect and diverse backgrounds to think critically and creatively and prepares them for principled engagement in the world. Guided by a dedicated community of adults, students develop a command of many disciplines, a love of learning and a resilient and generous spirit. The bond among students and with their teachers is rooted in a passionate exchange of ideas and an appreciation for the unique and lively contributions of each individual. A Brearley education unfolds over a lifetime. The School instills in its alumnae the confidence to pursue their ambitions and the wisdom to live balanced and purposeful lives.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement
The Brearley School believes that diversity of thought, practice and identity are essential elements in preparing students for principled engagement in the world. We believe in the importance of establishing and strengthening the structures and practices necessary to achieve equitable representation and participation in our school. We are committed to putting these beliefs into action and are therefore engaged in continuous study, self-reflection and dialogue in order to improve and adapt as we learn. We embrace the opportunities and challenges of learning and working in a diverse environment characterized by respect and consideration for the needs of others. In partnership with faculty, staff, students, families and alumnae, we are endeavoring to instill and sustain shared values that promote a welcoming, inclusive and affirming community.

Antiracist Statement
The Brearley School condemns racism in the strongest possible terms and is committed to building an antiracist community. This work requires active introspection, self-awareness and the determination to make conscious and consistently equitable choices on a daily basis. We expect our faculty, staff, students, parents and trustees to pursue meaningful change through deliberate and measurable actions. These actions include participating in antiracist training and identifying and eliminating policies, practices and beliefs that uphold racial inequality in our community

Alumnae Board Antiracism Priorities

PLAN OBJECTIVES 
Drive better, clearer Alum Board accountability to:  
  • Support alums of color and other people who have been “othered” 
  • Educate ourselves and our communities on ways to better embrace antiracist behaviors and systems  
  • Ensure transparency, representation and antiracism protocols by the Alum Board itself 
 
KEY PRIORITIES 
 
Priority 
What Will The Alumnae Board Do To Support This Priority
Alum Board 
Structure and 
Development 
  • Create a Statement of Values & Culture for Brearley Alumnae Board 
  • Re-evaluate Alum Board structures and focus to seat more alum of color and diverse background
    • Enhance the nomination process and membership 
    • Rethink and ratify alum board criteria and make public (i.e. recruit for specific skill sets, non-NY based, diverse) 
  • Advocate for DEI training for the current Alum Board and explore ways to expand to the wider alum community
Community 
Engagement 
Repair / Building 
  • Ensure that all affinity organizations (notably Miller Society and Queerly Brearley) have the Alum Board partnership and support to achieve their goals
  • Welcome other prospective affinity groups to form.  We will refer to the collective of affinity groups as the Brearley Alum Alliance of Inclusion (tentative title), to ensure that the Alum Board is amplifying the voices, experiences and perspectives of those who have not traditionally had platforms in our community 
  • Rethink structure, participation and substance of all future events including panelists, moderators, location, time, subject matter for all Alum Committees 
  • Represent Alumnae Board on the Antiracism DEI Committee and ensure active Alum participation where needed/wanted
Learning and Open Exchange 
  • Host marquee community-wide Town Hall with antiracism leader to support subsequent smaller sessions
  • Create Alum Learning Group for white alums that reads/watches/discusses common works about experiences of diverse communities and lived experiences, meets periodically with volunteer alum moderators, can host multiple sessions/month for time zones, affinity groups, etc. 
Evaluation and Feedback 
  • Self-assess progress against stated goals 
  • Establish consistent forums to gather feedback (giving envelopes, social media channels, survey) 
Communications
  • Evaluate use of digital/social channels like Instagram and LinkedIn for the alum board to gather feedback and share progress 
  • Find ways to create greater visibility to current Alumnae Board members – backgrounds, capabilities and anticipated value to the Alum Community 
  • Develop a communications cadence for the full alum community 
  • Connect with other independent schools to see where we can partner and amplify impact of antiracism efforts 
         Note: For this document, we use both Alumnae and Alum
The Brearley School is a K-XII independent day school for girls in New York City. Empowering girls of adventurous intellect to think critically and creatively.
610 East 83rd Street
New York, NY 10028
(212) 744-8582 

590 East 83rd Street
New York, NY 10028
(212) 744-8582