Carnegie Mellon University

Sankofa — Black Faculty and Staff Alliance

Meetings and Events

  • Second Annual Juneteenth Welcome Reception — Allies, supporters and friends are welcome to gather, build relationships and come together in celebration of Juneteenth. 
    • June 15 from 4:30–6 p.m.
    • PNC Foundation Room, Second Floor, Tepper School of Business
    • Register by June 14
  • Check out CMU community events celebrating Juneteenth, via the Office of the Vice Provost of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Join Sankofa to receive email updates on upcoming meetings and events

Mission Statement

The mission of Sankofa — Black Staff and Faculty Alliance is to serve as an influencer of diversity, inclusion and equity throughout Carnegie Mellon University. The group will be a resource that encourages community engagement, cultural awareness education and counseling for members through workshops, discussion groups and social events.


January Johnson, Co-Lead

Headshot of January JohnsonJanuary Johnson is a senior sponsored projects accountant within the Finance Division. As a Pittsburgh native, a significant part of becoming a co-lead is to develop ways Sankofa can provide outreach and partner with surrounding communities. January’s mission is to create an inclusive environment within and beyond campus for everyone to operate authentically.

Syl Smith, Co-Lead

Headshot of Syl SmithSylvia Smith has been a member of Carnegie Mellon University since 1979. Her decision to become a co-lead for Sankofa — Black Staff and Faculty Alliance stems from her desire to see CMU grow in its acceptance of diverse populations on the faculty and staff levels. Her goal is to encourage and empower others to do the same.

Sankofa members posing around the ERG's banner

Sankofa hosted a mixer at the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion on May 24, 2023.

Sebastian Lacy presenting during Sankofa meeting

Sebastian Lacy, vice president of equity & culture at YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh, presented at Sankofa's April 27 meeting. His presentation on "The Power of Networking" addressed professional networking in organizations for minorities.

Sebastian Lacy posing with Sankofa members January Jones (co-lead) and Brandon Davis, and Jones' daughter during April 27 meeting

Sebastian Lacy poses with Sankofa co-lead January Jones and member Brandon Davis following his April 27 presentation on networking. Also pictured is Jones' daughter, who was on campus for Take Your Children to Work Day.

Sankofa co-leads speak with a carnival attendee at the ERG table

Sankofa co-lead January Jones speaks with an attendee at the employee resource group table during Spring Carnival.

Sankofa representatives posing with banner at Spring Carnival

Sankofa co-lead January Jones and member Brandon Davis pose with the Sankofa banner during Spring Carnival.

John Burwell presenting during Sankofa meeting standing at podium in front of Black Resilience in America slide

On February 23, 2023, Sankofa was joined by special guest John Burwell, first black mayor of Homestead.