High School rivalries run deep, but a new OKC alumni group is putting differences aside to build the community.
“Three years ago, in the spring of 2019, I was in my graduate program at the OU school of social work,” said Shawntay Alexander, co-founder of The OKC Black Alumni Coalition.
The class was given an assignment of community outreach.
“We decided as class members in my program to try to do something positive to help bring some support to the community,” said Alexander.
She began organizing a group known as The OKC Black Alumni Coalition to address issues in the community and more specifically the schools, with things like the pathway to greatness initiative.
“The six predominantly black schools that we targeted were Dunjee High School, Northeast, Millwood, Star Spencer, Douglas, and John Marshall,” said Alexander.
The group of alumni from each of the schools has begun bridging the gap and informing the community about issues being addressed, before decisions for change are made.
“It means having these bold conversations. You know we can’t just continue to get lost under the umbrella of black and brown all the time,” said Alexander.
To increase awareness about the group and their initiatives, this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2p.m., the group will have their launch party, that they are calling the River Bowl Classic.
“No other city has a River Bowl, where their black alumni come together have a good time, fellowship, compete, we still do out bragging rights and our trash talking and everything, but we’re a community,” said D’Andre Foster, co-founder of The OKC Black Alumni Coalition.
“This event will inspire many. This event will bring inclusivity toward the inner core of the city,” said Alexander.
Alexander says it is important to recognize to significance of the area for African Americans and that they should enjoy all the campus has to offer.
“When we think about this river front, there were communities, black communities in particular on this original strip of land, you know we have our string town, our sand town, and Walnut Grove,” said Alexander.
The River Bowl will take place at the OKC Riversports campus, with food trucks, music and voter registration.
“Additionally, we’re going to have Douglas band representing and keeping us hype when we’re out there on the water racing our dragon boats and rowing teams,” said Alexander.
Teams from all the high schools have been practicing for about two months and are ready to compete.
“There’s something for everyone, firstly anyone who attends you’re going to leave with a free day pass to return on your own time,” said Alexander.
Guests are encouraged to show their school pride by wearing their school colors.
“We know that we took a bold action by considering, exploring water sports, we know that that was bold, because it is so different, for specifically the black community,” said Alexander.
“If you missed your class reunion this is definitely the place you want to come to this weekend,” said Alexander
The River Bowl is on Saturday, August 6, from 10 am to 2 pm, at OKC Riversport. For information about the OKC Black Alumni Coalition, visit their website www.okcbac.com