GS Alumnus Joins Leadership of the Black Alumni Council of Columbia University

Isaiah Walker ‘12GS, an educator and Harlem native, has been appointed as the Council’s Director of Community Engagement.

March 29, 2023

Career-educator and Harlem native Isaiah Walker ‘12GS has been appointed the Director of Community Engagement for the Black Alumni Council (BAC) of Columbia University. Walker joins fellow GS alumnus Menlee Mansue ‘16GS, who serves as BAC’s Vice President, as a member of the BAC’s leadership team.

In his professional career, Walker has dedicated himself to community service through teaching positions in Harlem and Newark, as well as educational leadership roles in Philadelphia and New York City. Walker cites his experiences growing up with Dyslexia and ADHD, and his single mom’s dedication to centering and supporting his school journey, as the source of his passion for education. He currently is the Chief Program Officer for the Common Ground Foundation, a youth development organization founded by Grammy and Oscar award-winning artist Common. 

Walker’s impressive credentials and educational expertise make him a natural fit for BAC leadership, as do his roots in Harlem. “His background as a school leader and respected changemaker is very well needed as we think about how we work with the Harlem community,” said the BAC of Walker’s appointment. Reflecting on the intersection of his Harlemite identity and Columbia education, Walker cited a quote from James Baldwin, advice Baldwin had given to his nephew: “They do not know Harlem, and I do. So do you. Take no one’s word for anything, including mine—but trust your experience. Know whence you came. If you know whence you came, there is really no limit to where you can go.” 

Said Walker of this quote, “it encouraged me as well as helped James Baldwin’s nephew adjust in his new educational space in Harlem, in life, and in the Harlem community. This resonates for me as a Harlemite who attended Columbia University. Baldwin, very much like my mother, stressed getting to know professors, the institution, and the community it serves. He encouraged his nephew to get involved because it would allow him to meet people from all walks of life. This would broaden both his heart and mind. It would essentially assist him in meeting everything that came his way with open arms and a strong desire to succeed. It assured him that with time, he would adjust well into the educational space and may even come to prefer it to the old one, while also strengthening the Harlem community because he knew Harlem.”

As a BAC leader, Walker will join a committed team of alumni empowering Black Columbians on campus and beyond through outreach, professional development, mentoring, and more. He will also become a part of shaping the far-reaching network of shared interest Columbia alumni groups, which provide critical community space and dedicated support for Columbia students and alumni. Congratulations to Isaiah Walker ‘12GS on this exciting appointment!