2007 “Launch” of African American Affinity Group (YAAA)
Held in February of 2007, this event stood as the “launch” of the first official Yale University African American Affinity Group (YAAA). The evening began with an inspiring talk by African American Yale alum and major donor William Wright, performances by Yale's a Cappello singing group Shades and was immediately followed by a reception at the Beinecke Rare Book Library.
A. Brooks, D. Bryant, D. Caldwell, D. K. Chambers, W. Hall, L. Hayes, P. Lewis, J. Mayes II, J. Muhammad, R. Solomon, D. Stanley-McAulay, D. Turner and sponsors S. King and D. Robinson
Dear Mr. Wright,
First off, let me say that your speech at the YAAA Meeting yesterday afternoon was nothing short of inspirational. As a young African-American undergraduate at Yale, I can't tell you how much it means to see someone who was in my position once, have reached such amazing heights in their field. So, thank you so much. I know that all of Shades feels the same way. You are doing great things.
Tour Manager, Shades A Capella Ensemble
I just want to say thank you, I appreciated the time you took a few days ago to come up to New Haven and speak to African American employees at Yale. Your message was inspiring! I've worked at Yale for twenty years, and have often felt isolated, and oppressed; yet, I feel hopeful about YAAA's potential to help empower our diverse community at Yale.
Just wanted to say, I was proud to be a part of history being made by attending the YAAA inaugural event. I was quite impressed and inspired by our keynote speaker, Mr. William Wright. Also, having an opportunity to network with him and others across the Yale campus should be encouraged so I anxiously look forward to our next event. Thanks to all for a job well done!
I think you all did a fabulous job! Everyone in my office who attended thought that the organization and program of the event was just terrific. Please do include me in future planning events b/c I think the YAAA is going to grow to be a powerful resource for African-American employees on campus.
Thank you for the powerful,and tremendously appropriate invocation you read yesterday at the YAAA meeting. Thanks also for sharing the reference with me after the meeting. Whenever I encounter powerful, inspirational words, I like to drop them into a PowerPoint slide that I can run on my monitor when I need encouragement, centering, or inspiration. Mr. Salkey's poem has been added to that collection. I'd like to share that with you as well.
Organizational Development & Learning Center
DEEP FOOTPRINTS by Andrew Salkey
Once, we had a persistent uncle, with us, at home, a slow burner,
with more than enough patience to light the whole family fire.
We called him names like hope, work, struggle, time and victory;
his smile hid years of torment; his walk was slow and very long.
When he died, the whole family called one another names like hope,
work, struggle, time and victory; and his footprints became ours...
Read by The Rev. Frederick J. Streets, Chaplain, Yale University, as the Invocation
at the Inaugural meeting of the Yale University African-American Affinity Group,
held at the Yale University Law School Auditorium, February 27, 2007
When I returned to the office this morning from a business trip on the West Coast, Nina told me what a superb job you did to organize Tuesday’s African American Affinity Group program. From Shades to your MC to your guest speaker to the reception at Beinecke, you and the rest of the planning team created a wonderful event. I know that Dorothy and Shauna were very pleased, and I am confident that the energy and good will that was produced will move the group forward in a strong and positive fashion. Congratulations.
With warmest regards,
Richard C. Levin