Working Groups



To support the sustained growth of our intellectual community Alumni of IRAAS have established several working groups.

  • Outreach
  • Mentorship (Pre-College, College, Graduate Students)
  • Professional Development (Academic and Non-Academic)
  • Travel

Contact us if you are interested in supporting a Working Group


Deadline 6/21/18: IRAAS Alumni Council Phone Conference Dates

CalendarHello IRAAS Alumni Council,

We are writing in preparation for the IRAAS at 25th Anniversary Celebration that will kick off next academic year Fall 2018. The IRAAS Alumni Council would like to have a phone conference to discuss and plan IAC’s events for the incoming academic year. There will be a number of IRAAS hosted events related to the 25th. We want alumni to host at least 3 events. We are looking for people to help and participate in the events and also discuss the next direction for the council.
Here are the possible dates for phone conference in the next 2 weeks. Once we have confirmed a date and time we will send an email with the meetings agenda so we are all up to speed.
Possible Phone Conference Dates 
Monday, June 25 at 7:30 or 8:00pm
Tuesday, June 26 at 7:30 or 8:00pm
Wednesday, June 27 at 7:30 or 8:00 pm
Friday, June 29 at 6:00pm
Monday, July  2 at 7:30 or 8:00pm
Thursday, July  6 at 7:30  or 8:00pm
Please vote by June 21, 2018 to vote for your preferred time
Looking forward to connecting very soon,
Zinga Fraser – IAC Co-Chair
Russell Malbrough – IAC Co-Chair
We collaborating on this function 6/22/18 The New York City Affinity Group Networking Reception

6/22/18 The New York City Affinity Group Networking Reception

The New York City Affinity Group Networking Reception

Friday June 22, 2018 6PM

Cove Lounge, 325 Malcolm X Blvd, New York 10027


Free to Attend. RSVP REQUIRED

Cash Bar. Online menu

Happy Hour specials!

Join professionals from various industries to celebrate the start of summer and share opportunities for the future.

Special congratulations to the Class of 2018

Invited Guests:


Venue images courtesy Apex Building Group President & COO- Robert Horsford Brown ’96 / Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Eventbrite - The New York City Affinity Group Networking Reception

Barnard-Columbia Alumni Reunion Jam May 31 – June 2, 2018

Barnard-Columbia Alumni Reunion Jam 2018

Open to Columbia University alumni from all schools, affiliates, and generations, The “Jam” was originally the reunion of Black and Latino men and women who attended Barnard College and Columbia College in the 1960s and 1970s, who became the “foundational classes” on whose shoulders subsequent generations of students of color stand.

Join the party this reunion weekend with old school jams played live by Columbia classmate James “Plunky” Branch and his band Plunky and Oneness

As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Columbia’s 1968 student uprising, we also honor the foundational classes of color – recognizing Rachelle “Viki” Browne, The Honorable Walter Rivera, and Steven “Noah” Sims for their commitment, with in person tributes by Efraim Nieves, Esq., Ellen Holder Honeywell and Eric H. Holder, Jr., 82nd Attorney General of the United States.

Jam 2018 is brought to you in collaboration:

Black Alumni Council of Columbia University

Columbia College Office of Alumni Affairs and Development

Ifill Events, LLC

Plunky and Oneness

Make a charitable contribution to the Black Alumni Council Scholarship Fund for undergraduate education.

Recommended reunion activities:

Th., May 31 – Barnard Alumnae of Color Dinner

Fri., June 1 – The Jam | 8 pm | Proper West 54 W. 39th St.

Sat., June 2 – Panel: Remembering 1968 | 1 pm | CU Law School

Sat., June 2 – Alumni of Color Reception | 4 pm | Campus

More Reunion Weekend Info

4/13/18 IRAAS Conversation Lecture Series Ericka Huggins

“We Are The Ones We Are Waiting For”

Ericka Huggins
Human Rights Activist, Poet, Educator,
Black Panther Party Leader and Former Political prisoner
Bio compiled from
I am a human rights activist, poet, educator, Black Panther Party leader and former political prisoner. For the past 36 years I’ve lectured throughout the United States and internationally. My life experiences have enabled me to speak personally and honestly on issues relating to the physical and emotional well-being of women, children and youth, whole being education, the incarceration of men and women of color, and the role of the spiritual practice in sustaining activism and promoting social change.
As a result of my 14-year tenure as a leading member of the Black Panther Party I bring a unique perspective to the challenges and successes of the Black Panther Party and, its significance today. My desire to serve humanity began in 1963, when I attended the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. There, I committed to serving people for the rest of my life. In 1968, at age 18, I joined the Black Panther Party. I soon became a leader in the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Panther Party with my husband John Huggins.
From 1973–1981, I was the Director of the Oakland Community School, the groundbreaking community-run child development center and elementary school founded by the Black Panther Party. Working with a team of incredibly talented party members and local educators a vision for the innovative curriculum for the school was written. This curriculum and the principles that inspired it became a model for and predecessor to the charter school movement.
During that time, with community support, I became both the first woman and the first Black person to be appointed to the Alameda County Board of Education, which serves children with cognitive, emotional and physical disabilities and, incarcerated youth in the county’s many school districts.
Ten years after my release from prison, in 1981, I returned to California state, county, and federal prisons and jails to share my experiences of yoga and meditation. A focus of my volunteer efforts has been with incarcerated youth. I have continued this work with adults and, in addition, I have continues this work in homes for foster and adopted children and teens. For the past 20 years, I’ve also taught relaxation and mindfulness in California youth correctional facilities, in addition to many California public school districts and community colleges.
In 1990, at the height of public awareness of HIV/AIDS, I was the first woman practical support volunteer coordinator at the world-renowned Shanti Project. I also developed a unique volunteer support program for women and children of color, living with HIV, in the Tenderloin and Mission districts of San Francisco.
During my time at Shanti Project and later Aids Project of Contra Costa County, I helped develop citywide programs for the support of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender and questioning youth and adults with HIV/AIDS.
From 2003-2011 I was a professor of Women and Gender Studies at San Francisco State University and California State University, East Bay. From 2008-2015 I was professor of Sociology and African American Studies in the Peralta Community College District.
Currently, I am one of the facilitators with World Trust. World Trust uses films that document, through story, the impact of systems of racial inequity. These films are tools to foster conversation about race, and all structural inequities. These conversations are powerful to personal and global transformation. Below are the films that I use to stimulate dialogue as I travel and speak to audiences large and small:
The Way Home: Women Talk About Race in America
Light in the Shadows: Staying at the Table When the Conversation About Race Gets Hard
Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible
Cracking the Codes: A System of Racial Inequity
And coming soon in September 2017: Healing Justice: Cultivating a World of Belonging


Allison Janae Hamilton Pitch solo museum exhibition at MASS MoCA

Allison Janae Hamilton’s evocative work is influenced by the sights and sounds of the southern landscape. Her photographs, videos, sculptures, and installations feature environments familiar to the north Florida and Tennessee landscapes that are home to her family — boiling swamps and tall pines, vespid wasps and green anoles, wild horses, and white clapboard houses. Hamilton creates a sense of place that is both magical and menacing, with Spanish moss decorating the knotted trees, music filling the humid air, and alligators roaming the shallow waters.

But for Hamilton, this terrain and its inhabitants are not the stuff of fiction or gothic fantasy, but tangible matter of palpable consequence. The commanding, full-sized alligators that are a powerful symbol in her work draw both from the mythical ouroboros and from her experiences growing up in a family network of hunters. Sustainability and the future of this verdant, balmy environment — and the environment at large — are significant themes in her practice. (Hamilton works with friends and family to sustainably source the reptile carcasses.) Land is as important a character in Hamilton’s narratives as the family members who help populate and produce many of her performance-based works. A mix of personal realities and epic narratives, the artist’s rich vision of the rural landscape is a lens through which she explores the intersection of agricultural, environmental, and social histories that continue to inform the present.

At MASS MoCA — in her first solo museum exhibition — Hamilton will present an ensemble of old and new works, including a new installation that looks to the legacy of the turpentine industry. The exhibition’s title suggests not only the resin material of pine trees mined in the turpentine-making process, but also the myths and fables that take place in the pitch-black hours of the night, and an array of noises heard in the environment that inspires Hamilton, from the sounds of animals to those associated with labor and song.

Co-curated by Susan Cross and Larry Ossei-Mensah

A Members Opening Reception will be held on Saturday, March 24, at 5:30pm.

When the wind has teeth, 2015
Archival Pigment Print, 40 x 60 inches, courtesy of the artist


1040 MASS MoCA WAY North Adams, MA 01247


3/23/18 IRAAS Conversation Lecture “Letters from Langston: from the Harlem Renaissance to the Red Scare and Beyond”

FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2018 4:00PM
IRAAS Conversation Lecture
“Letters from Langston: from the Harlem Renaissance to the Red Scare and Beyond”
Evelyn L. Crawford & Mary L. Patterson
Room 754 Schermerhorn Extension
Free & Open to The Public
Langston Hughes, one of America’s greatest writers, was an innovator of jazz poetry and a leader of the Harlem Renaissance whose poems and plays resonate widely today. Accessible, personal, and inspirational, Hughes’s poems portray the African American community in struggle in the context of a turbulent modern United States and a rising black freedom movement. This indispensable volume of letters between Hughes and four leftist confidants sheds vivid light on his life and politics. Letters from Langston begins in 1930 and ends shortly before his death in 1967, providing a window into a unique, self-created world where Hughes lived at ease. This distinctive volume collects the stories of Hughes and his friends in an era of uncertainty and reveals their visions of an idealized world—one without hunger, war, racism, and class oppression.
Speakers Bios
Evelyn Louise Crawford, a retired arts administrator and consultant, and MaryLouise Patterson, a pediatrician in clinical practice, are the daughters of Langston Hughes’s cherished friends Evelyn Graves Crawford, Matt N. Crawford, Louise Thompson Patterson, and William L. Patterson. Hughes was a frequent guest in the homes of the two families and was like an uncle to to Evelyn Louise and MaryLouise.


Vocalist and composer Imani Uzurihas created a mercurial musical meditation on “liminality” (standing at the threshold) exploring themes of death, rebirth, impermanence and transcendence.

This contemporary chamber opera, is inspired by hidden gathering places called “hush arbors” created by enslaved African Americans in wooded areas in the South to secretly worship, commune and strategize rebellion.

The work features polyphonic singing, instrumental rumblings, poetic text and will consider the notion of the need for communion as a strategy towards deeper understanding and transformation of our human condition.

This work in progress concert (featuring strings, voices, piano, flute, tambourine and guitars) will be followed by a conversation between composerImani Uzuri and scholar Matthew D. Morrison, PhD.

The “A” Game Brooklyn Card Game

Fellow Wakandans!

It’s going down TOMORROW! That’s right, The “A” Game: a good old-fashioned card and day party: Black Panther Edition kicks off in a few hours! Once more, you can come enjoy your favorite card games — spades, UNO, and more at the Brooklyn Tap House. Awesome door prizes and happy hour drinks will be offered. As always, the force of nature herself, DJ Monday Blue, will be spinning classic 80’s/90’s R&B on the 1’s and 2’s, so there will be plenty dancing and revelry for non-card players, too!

Let’s Celebrate Black Panther and Black History!

Y’all KNOW we couldn’t let the Black History Month pass without celebrating the milestones of so many who paved the way. So in honor of BHM, and the groundbreaking, gamechanging film, BLACK PANTHER, there will be a Black Movie Trivia Contest in the afternoon. And feel free to rock your Black Panther attire! A prize will be given to the person that the audience deems most creatively outfitted for the occasion.

Tournament UPDATE!

Back by popular demand, there will be a 3-round, bracket-style, rise-and-fly tournament Spades Tournament! The tournament is sold out, but we will have a WAIT LIST to fill in if there are no-shows at 4:30PM. If you wish to be added to the wait list, RSVP and arrive early!

This promises to be one of our most fun parties yet, and as always, we look forward to hanging with all of you. Card lessons will be offered as well, so secretly not knowing how to play spades is no reason to miss out on the fun (especially since we’ve learned there are many of you in our midst)! So come out with your friends, and get ready to make new ones. Just bring your crew, bring your appetites, and of course, bring your “A” game!

Event Time: 4pm-8pm

Spades Tournament: 4:30pm Sharp

Admission: General Admission $6 plus fees or $9 at the door

Tournament Admission: $12 per person at the door (handsome prizes for the winning team)

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Wakanda Foreveeeeeer!

Gleennia and Dee Dee

Share this event on Facebook and Twitter We hope you can make it!Cheers,Gleennia and Dee Dee