Recap – RIISE Affinity & Networking New Year’s Mixer

Elizabeth Perez Azerad
RIISE Multicultural Advisor

What a turn out! What fun!

For those of you unable to attend our networking mixer on Saturday night at the very chic COVE Lounge in Harlem, we really missed you.  We met new friends, shared stories and made plans for the future, all while enjoying flavorful RIISE cocktails and delicious gourmet treats from the COVE kitchen. A big thanks to owner Aliyah Horsford Sidberry for taking such good care of us.

The mixer was sponsored by American Promise, and we were happy to have Michéle Stephenson & Joe Brewster drop in after leaving their sold out Maysles screening right down the block on Lenox. Primarily, we gathered to celebrate our commitment to strong affinity work in each of our school communities.

Later that evening, I introduced a poem by Sue Monk Kidd entitled, “A Thread is so Slender.” It beautifully reveals the fragile nature of working alone, where feelings of fear, danger and risk might easily overcome hope.  Yet, the poem goes on to say that there is a ‘ferocious hope’, one which I interpret to mean that joining together as a network of parents devoted to strong affinity affiliations, we not only become a conversation and network, but a fortified loom.


The poem was followed by a mindfulness exercise from creative writing teacher, Joe Russo.  We chose multicolored yarns to form a braid to use as a bookmark or reminder of the strength that networks give us.

Gina, and I plan to release an Affinity Leaders’ Contact Directory.  If you have not already given us your contact information, please provide it via the link below.  After three years of Diversity work, I know that being able to reach out to affinity leaders from other independent schools is a valuable tool in the work that we do.  Please join in the directory and more importantly, use the directory in 2014 so that we can make this a bright year for our students and families.

Affinity Leader’s Directory

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