The Black Alliance Initiative (BAI) student club welcomed two Trinity alums to the PAC theater stage in early February for a Chapel honoring Black History Month entitled “A Blast to the Past: Observing POC Experiences.” The program featured two student leaders (Aaliyana Carr ’23 and Drew Covington ’23) interviewing two young alums (Torey Burston ’12 and Angelique Scott ’13) about their experiences as Back students at Trinity over a decade ago.
After earning both the Titan Award and Founders Award at Trinity, Burston went on to earn the Team Leadership Award at VCU playing on the men’s basketball team. He studied homeland security at VCU and coached basketball at JR Tucker High School in Richmond before returning to his alma mater last year as campus coordinator and coach.
Also a Titan Award recipient, Scott discovered her passion for ceramics in the Trinity arts studio before pursuing an MFA in art education and craft and material studies at VCU. Scott is now a sculptural ceramist and educator in the youth and family programs at the VMFA as well as a studio instructor at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond.
Both alums spoke candidly about the challenges of being one of a handful of black students in their class and the pressures that came with and what Scott called “being a brand ambassador for blackness.”
“I found my safe space in the art room,” said Scott. “I was already very expressive. I feel like the arts were a great outlet for me.”
“When I was here there were 19 black students,” Burston recalled, noting that student diversity has grown significantly since his student days. “We still have a lot of work to do, but it is cool to see the growth.”
The student interviewers echoed the alum’s mix of appreciation for progress and hope for even more. “Diversity is not just about black students,” said Carr. “It means having a multitude of races.” She praised the work of the Virginia Center of Inclusive Communities (VCIC) and the facilitation training they have provided Trinity student leaders over the past few years. “It's a great way for everyone to learn how to be upstanders and allies for people of color,” she said.
Covington stressed the importance of inclusion beyond just diversity. “We can admit students of color, but if they don’t feel welcome, that's not inclusion,” he said. “I feel like Trinity has progressively gotten better, especially with all of the clubs.”
Scott expressed her appreciation for being invited back and for the opportunity for students to engage with the topic. “It’s really powerful to see Trinity hold these spaces for their students to drive these conversations that push us forward, that connect us more and impact the way we make our daily decisions that lead to how we show up for one another in the world,” she said. “There’s a ton of work to do, but it is great to see that my faith and love for Trinity is well placed. I always love coming back here and getting to talk to students and see how much has changed.”