Alumni/ae of Color Spotlight

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Kendrick Terrell Evans '10

In full transparency, my BB&N experience was mixed. Even though I was provided an amazing education and met some of my closest friends at BB&N, I struggled with being accepted by the school at large. Luckily I was heavily involved with the Drama department and with SHADES which helped me explored what I saw myself doing in the future. After graduating BB&N and then Tufts with a degree in Anthropology and Drama, I decided to work in the arts sector uplifting the voices of BIPOC individuals, more specifically Queer BIPOC individuals whose stories aren't told with the honor they deserve.

I am very passionate about diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (EDIA) work within the arts sector. Art has the power to be transformative and empowering, but it can't be that if it's only catered through a white gaze. That is why during my tenures at The Theatre Offensive, The Huntington Theatre Company, and now American Public Television as well as my current Board Member status with Rehearsal for Life, I have provided a safe space for BIPOC individuals to have a voice, and pivot the arts sector to be a more inclusive space for all.

Currently I am the Content Administrator of Exchange Programming at American Public Television. To make a very long and detailed job description short, I work with producers and public television stations of single programs and series from conception to contract.

There are three important lessons I've learned in my career: (1) Work smarter, not harder (2) Make sure you listen to your body and take time to heal. The work will always be there but your body will not if you don't take care of it (3) Know your worth. It will always be higher than what people think.

I love that I have a direct hand in what people will see on public television. I also love that I get paid for it. That's pretty dope.

Read more about Kendrick Terrell Evans '10
Milyna Phillips '99

My junior year at BB&N I took Economics and remember our teacher devoting almost an entire class to teach us about the inherent stability of being an educator and the need for teachers at all times- his point being that regardless of what type of economy the country is living through, teachers will always be in demand. There were a total of fifteen students in the class, thirteen white boys, myself and another black girl-- these two details not only encapsulated my time within independent schools but were very much a catalyst for what I do today. I aim to ensure that current and future students within independent schools see themselves reflected back to them within the curriculum, faculty, staff, senior administration and head of school.

My passion is justice- it's a key component to my identity. My purpose and conviction to this meaningful work is unwavering- this is how I care for ​my​ beloved community. Now more than ever, leaders of schools and corporations must interrogate all systems not solely through the lens of DEI but must be willing to incorporate social-emotional learning and cognitive science- thought leadership and the ability to dismantle the pervasiveness of white supremacy that operates within systems, lives at the intersection of these three schools of thought. 

I'm a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice consultant for independent schools and nonprofits and educator at an independent school in Washington, D.C. 

This may seem counterintuitive given this platform but I've learned that my self-worth is in no way tied to what my job title is or how much money I make--the illusion of productivity and grind culture is a toxic one. These were difficult lessons for me to learn, that I did not truly embrace until the onset of the pandemic, when I was forced to slow down and reassess what I valued. This new way of understanding created an opportunity for me to establish healthy work/life boundaries and realize that if an employer couldn't or wouldn't respect them, then that was not a place I would benefit from working. 

I find joy in any act that moves the needle closer towards liberation for BIPOC folks. As an educator I often find myself being within an incredible community of extraordinary educators that are changing the education landscape. My job allows me to support not what school communities should be, but rather to ask the questions that help them imagine what they might be. "To build community requires vigilant awareness of the work we must continually do to undermine all the socialization that leads us to behave in ways that perpetuate domination." -bell hooks, Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope

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Diana Mirambeaux-Saker '05

BB&N taught me how to think as opposed to what to think, which I believe to be so important. I take this with me in my everyday life as well as in my work as an advocate and job coach for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). I am constantly re-framing ideas, perspectives, and perceptions for both my clients and members of their support teams in a way that invites a deeper understanding of the whole person and promotes creative problem solving. It's never about doing things a certain way or following a script, it's about finding the most effective and meaningful path to achieve their goals. 

I'm passionate about being an advocate. I will always seek to be a voice for those who don't have one or are afraid to use theirs. I've never really been afraid to 'rustle feathers,' especially if it means someone else gets to be comfortable in their skin, and the knowledge that you've given someone confidence is an amazing motivator to keep doing so. 

My role is mainly to facilitate independence. So many people with I/DD (and disabilities in general) are seen as being incapable or less capable; they've grown up being told what to do, when and how to do it, and why they have to, and they are left out of the conversations that most impact their lives. They are raised in a way that causes them to believe they aren't in control of their lives, and there are only a few areas in which their opinion matters. I work with clients directly as well as parents, caregivers, staff, and co-workers to change that narrative and advance the movement in human services toward a 'person first' model. This model puts self-determination at the forefront of all of our work as opposed to past models where it's up to parents, guardians or staff to choose what's important. Most recently I've been on an amazing team that implemented Google Classrooms for our clients. We had independent interaction as the main goal, so that each person feels empowered to navigate Zoom classes and activities from home and gives them a way to communicate with each other and their staff more effectively. 

The most important lesson I've learned is that nobody is broken. The environment around you just needs to be adjusted to make space for your unique talents and needs. 

I love getting to know each individual and learning about what drives them. Each and every one of us is a unique person with a unique set of experiences that shapes us, and it's no different for people with I/DD, though at times it's harder to learn about. When you can't just ask a person about their life and what's important to them, you have to use other methods like observation, trial and error, nonverbal communication and so on. Approaching people this way allows your understanding of their behavior to be generated from a much deeper level, thus your response can be that much more grounded in their individuality. 

Read more about Diana Mirambeaux-Saker '05
Jennifer Pierre '07

I enrolled at BB&N in the 7th grade. I remember my mother wanting me to follow in my sister’s footsteps and attend another independent school. And I was ready to do so, until I visited the middle school campus. Everyone was so welcoming and personable and I liked that the campus was separated from both the lower and upper schools. Even at 12 years old, I knew instantly that BB&N was the place I wanted to attend.

I graduated NYU School of Law Spring of 2020. I’m currently studying for the New York bar, and in the fall, I’ll be working at an international law firm as a lawyer. In the near future, I hope to use my law degree to solve issues related to law, human rights, and international development.

BB&N enabled me to ‘study away’ my junior year, and I chose an experiential learning program based in NYC. It was my first time living away from my family, and the best introduction to NYC, a place that I call home now. While the program did not have a legal focus, it taught me how to think outside the box, and to remain inquisitive. Both of these qualities are important for a legal career.

BB&N introduced me to French, a language I still study until this day. I adored all the French teachers, and my French classes. Thanks to them, I have studied abroad in Paris in both college and in law school!

My fondest memory of BB&N would have to be Bivouac! It was my first time camping, and I absolutely loved it. Two weeks was not long enough! I remember dreading it, but it was an amazing and unique experience to get to know the rest of the freshman class.

I’m an Alumnae of Color Mentor and on the AoC Steering Committee! I’m really excited to connect with the current generation of BB&N students.

Read more about Jennifer Pierre '07
Nikki Martin Smith '89

The one thing that I will forever cherish about BB&N is the school's commitment to academic excellence and diversity. When I was admitted to BB&N in 1986, there was a push to racially diversify the school. Dr. Peter Gunness, Head of School and Ms. Hodges (forgot her title) interviewed me, shared the school's vision, and gave me and my parents the tour. 

It was at that point that I saw the vast difference between private and public schools. Private schools have far more resources and are elitist. The small class sizes, the stellar teachers (with the exception of 2 who were blatant racists), the robust academic programs, the sports teams, and the mandatory requirement to participate...these all profoundly impacted me during my three years at BB&N. I was so grateful for the opportunity to join the illustrious BB&N family. I was so grateful for BB&N giving me, a girl from a blue-collar, working-class family, a scholarship every year to attend. It was both an honor and a privilege and something I took very seriously. 

Even with the scholarship, my dad continued working two jobs and a few side jobs to ensure I had a proper education. My parents--Richie and Carole Martin's--belief in me and their belief in providing not just me, but my sister Tara Martin Scott (Class of '92), the best educational opportunities carried a huge weight. I had to succeed. For my success was inextricably linked to my parents' hard work. I also grew up in a strong, faith-filled, prayed-up Christian household. So here again, I had to succeed for my church family, who shaped, molded, and supported me from the time I was born!

I am passionate about Life. Unity. Children. The Elderly. Education. Ending Homelessness. Ending Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. Eradicating Racism. 

I am a public high school teacher in Charlotte, NC. I'm certified as a "Special" Education teacher, meaning I'm certified to teach students with learning disabilities. However, I wholeheartedly believe that ALL students are "special." I NEVER teach to my students' disabilities. I only teach to their abilities. For the past eight years, I've taught in the Occupational Course of Study (OCS) program. This is a career pathway to a North Carolina high school diploma. In addition to teaching, I am a mentor for Beginning Teachers, OCS team lead, and a member of the PTSA, School Improvement, and Restorative Justice/PBIS (Positive Behaviors and Intervention Supports) teams. I'm not big on awards but for the purpose of this article, I guess it's worth mentioning: I received the Teachers of Excellence award from MeckEd in 2017.


Lessons I've learned along the way so far in my career are:

· NEVER believe your own PR (in other words DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE)

· Life is about continuous learning and continuous improvement

· You live life forward ... you learn life backwards

The ability to open minds! I LOVE sowing seeds of hope, acceptance, and possibilities into my students every day. And then, watching them excel to heights they never even thought possible. My most beloved day is GRADUATION DAY! For me, this one day culminates what education is all about. My school mission states, much better, what I'm trying to convey: "The mission of Vance is to graduate young adults who are self-directed, intellectually, and socially engaged citizens ready for college, career, and life.

 

Read more about Nikki Martin Smith '89