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The Afro-Latina Alliance at Spence Celebrates 30-Year Anniversary

Alumnae and student members of the Afro-Latina Alliance at Spence (ALAS) as well as Spence faculty celebrated the 30th anniversary of ALAS during a dinner in November. Nicole Innis ’93 paid tribute to the “fellowship and sisterhood” inspired by ALAS, recalling the transformational impact of joining ALAS when the group was founded by Denise James-Manuel ’89 and Milly Silva-Bermudez ’89 in their senior year.

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“I was in eighth grade; it was the first time that we were able to gather as students of color—Middle Schoolers with upperclassmen—and spend time together in an environment that was meant to acknowledge us,” Innis shared.
Innis thanked ALAS founders for their “foresight and gumption” to bring their idea to fruition and plant “seeds that are now 30 years old and continue to bear fruit.” She also applauded the efforts of Spence faculty Michèle Krauthamer and fellow alumnae Judith Joseph Jenkins ’91 “for their stewardship.”
“ALAS, was the first time I realized that I would really benefit from that kind of fellowship and environment within which I could actually be myself and speak my truth and share that with others who had the shared experience,” Innis said. “Over the years, we really developed this sense of sisterhood, which motivated and encouraged us as individuals to become more involved, more visible in a more deliberate way.”
Head of School Bodie Brizendine also saluted “the powerful, palpable and permanent legacy—the very work that we reap the benefit now.” In addition to acknowledging longtime faculty advisors to ALAS, Steven Bailey, Mary Frosch and Michèle Krauthamer, Brizendine expressed her appreciation of ALAS for “lending voice, vision, truth and beauty to the hallways and to the history of the School.”