May 27, 2017

Remembering Sheila Abdus-Salaam

NYC memorial held to honor the career and life of Sheila Abdus-Salaam. 

The Honorable Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam '74BC '77LAW


"Our Sister Sheila Was a Giant." The Honorable Rolando T. Acosta ‘79CC ‘82Law, Columbia University Trustee and Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, was among the presenters noting Judge Abdus-Salaam’s giving nature. “She inspired us with her vision to labor for things greater than ourselves.”

Hundreds of friends, colleagues and classmates celebrated the life and career of Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam in New York City at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on May 26, 2017, weeks following her still unexplained death in April.

Following the service a Columbia contingent met in the Diana Center at a gathering hosted by the Dean of Barnard College, Avis Hinkson ‘84BC. Black and Latino alumni from across the country shared stories and reflections and took photos commemorating our lasting bonds with each other and final moments together with Sheila.

Black alumni thank fellow classmate Dean Hinkson for her continued leadership and the generous support of Professor Tina Campt, director of the Barnard Center for Research on Women, and chair of Barnard’s Africana Studies Department. Together they made it possible for us to gather in Sheila’s honor.

Barnard is creating a student-centered tribute honoring Sheila. Charitable contributions can be sent to Barnard College earmarked to the Sheila Abdus-Salaam ’74 Scholarship Fund. For more information scroll below. 

Classmates gather to remember Sheila Turner Abdus-Salaam.


Thank you to Darryl T. Downing '74CC for photographing the gathering following the memorial. To see more of his photos from the NYC memorial, go to the BAC Facebook Page: Columbia BAC 


Judge Abdus-Salaam, Professor Quandra Prettyman & Dr. Marilyn Sanders Mobley '74BC

Says Dr. Mobley, “Sheila was a beautiful person, a brilliant woman, an ethical activist, and a beloved friend to so many. As many have heard me say, I loved her, I love her still, and I always will.” 

Below, a favorite photo of Garrett Johnson '74CC:

Daughter Kelsey, Sheila and Garrett


Statement on Behalf of Barnard College Classes of 1971-1977 Barnard Organization of Soul Sisters (BOSS)

To Our Dear Sister Sheila, 

We knew you before you reached the pinnacle of your profession.  We knew you when you had dreams that would not—could not—be deferred. 

We knew you when the strength of our heritage and the power of your intellect shone through in your eyes and your spoken words. 

We knew you when we could cram for exams, play bid whist, laugh, party down, and organize against injustice. 

We knew you when we all blossomed from the seeds planted at Barnard: the energy of our resolve to succeed, the affirmation of our limitless creativity, and, above all, the blessings of a lifetime of sisterhood. 

That lifetime is not over. We cannot imagine life without you. We don't want to.  So, as you journey to the other side, go knowing you are, and always will be, close to our hearts and deeply loved.




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