Tag Archives: Bernicestine McLeod Bailey

Roundup: Robin Tauck/Y Challenge, Narcan, Pop-Up Sale …

Robin Tauck and the Westport Weston Family YMCA are teaming up again.

The former trustee, benefactor of the Robin Tauck Wellness Center and longtime executive with her family’s international travel company celebrates the Y’s 100-year anniversary with a $100,000 matching challenge.

From now through June 30, Robin will match every dollar donated at $500 and above. Funds will go toward new programs for seniors, adults, and youth that improve health outcomes.

They include fitness and well-being for arthritis, Parkinson’s, cancer management and other diseases, and special strength and conditioning program for youths.

Funds will also benefit the Y’s financial assistance program, serving under-resourced families and those in need.

Donors who contribute $1,000 or more will enjoy a special summer event.

Fore more details and to participate in the matching grant challenge, click here. 

Questions? Email kguthrie@westporty.org


Opioid abuse is rampant everywhere — including Westport.

And in the event of an overdose, everyone can help.

A free overdose awareness and Narcan training session is set for next Friday (May 12, 4 to 5 p.m., Positive Directions, 90 Post Road West).

Topics include how and when to administer Narcan, and prevention resources and messages to share.

Registration is required; click here.


A pre-Mothers Day pop-up shopping event This Friday (May 12, 12-4 p.m., Yoga45, 201 Main Street) benefits A Better Chance of Westport.

A portion of sales will go to the local organization, which for 20 years has offered educational opportunities to academically gifted young men of color.

It’s a great way to shop local, at a women-owned store, for Mom — and for a great cause!


Among many other things, Verso Studios and the Westport Library are becoming a film hub for movie buffs throughout the area.

On May 19 (7 p.m., the Lundberg Family Foundation Masters Film Series launches, to tie it all together.

The first event is the Connecticut premiere of the documentary “Heaven Stood Still: The Incarnations of Willy DeVille.” Area residents Chris Frantz and Crispin Cioe are featured in the film.

A Q&A after the showing with the filmmakers, including the filmmakers; Frantz and Cioe, and DeVille’s niece.

The Lundberg Family Foundation Masters Film Series will showcase films and filmmakers. It bridges independent production and established innovation. Special screenings coupled with master classes will “educate and inspire on modes of production and storytelling craft, as well as technical, philosophical, and historical aspects.”

Master classes on June 14 and 21 will focus on techniques to convert a film concept into a compelling documentary story.


Brown University 1968 Bernicestine McLeod Bailey adds another degree later this month. The IT leader and longtime advocate for inclusion of alumni of color  will receive an honorary degree — doctor of humane letters — at the commencement ceremony.

Following her career as an IBM systems engineer, she established McLeod Associates, a pioneering minority-owned IT consulting firm.

McLeod Bailey is a founding member of TEAM Westport, and former board member of the Westport Library and Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.

At Brown, she is a longtime member of the Pembroke Center Advisory Council and served as founding chair of its Archives Committee with a focus on elevating gender history. She has established funds to support undergraduate diversity and initiatives highlighting Black history at the university.

McLeod Bailey served as a Brown trustee from 2001 to 2007, and is an honorary lifetime member of the President’s Advisory Council on Diversity. She also received the Brown Bear Award, the Brown Alumni Association’s highest volunteer honor.

McLeod Bailey and her husband, Brown alumnus Harold Bailey Jr., are the parents of Brown alumni Aisha (Class of 1999) and Harold III (Class of 2003).

Bernicestine McLeod Bailey


Last night’s Pic of the Day showed tulips blooming beautifully at the Minute Man monument.

How did they get there?

Andrew Colabella — RTM member and all-things-Westport booster — planted 100 bulbs.

Another 400 are coming this fall, he promises.

Andrew Colabella, with a bulb at the Minute Man monument. (Photo/Jimmy Izzo)


Former Westporter Kristin Erickson died April 25 in New Fairfield. She was 62.

She studied at Northfield Mount Hermon, Denison and Southern Connecticut State Universities, and a earned a master’s degree in social work from Fordham University.

As a hospice social worker, Kristin had “a remarkable capacity to show up for people and their families in very dark moments.” She was passionate about death with dignity, access to mental health resources, and caring for senior dogs and dogs with high needs. She was recently certified as a death doula.

Kristin and her former husband Dan Carpenter raised 3 children in Fairfield. They were her pride and joy. Her family says, “she was a creative, goofy, and above all, deeply loving mother. She also filled roles as a cool aunt, second mom to her kid’s friends, and dedicated dog mom.”

Kristin spent the past years between West Palm Beach and New Fairfield with her partner Ken Green and his dogs. She spent a lot of time with her mom, Sue, as well. Kristin had recently become certified as a death doula and had continued to hold space for people at the end of their lives.

Kristin is survived by her parents, Susan and George Erickson; children Nell, Guthrie and Aria Carpenter; siblings Jon and Martha Erickson and their partners Jayne and Bones; nieces Riley, Mullein, Romy, and Faye, and many lifelong friends.

n lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Compassion & Choices, a non-profit Kristin was passionate about.

Kristin Erickson


There’s always something different to see from Grace Salmon Park.

Patricia McMahon framed this “Westport … Naturally shot beautifully, as spring comes to the popular Saugatuck River spot:

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)


And finally … in honor of Bernicestine McLeod Bailey’s honorary degree from Brown (story above), here is the world’s greatest college fight song.

Sorry, Michigan and Notre Dame. But this one’s clearly the best.

(Be ever true to “06880”! Please click here to support your hyper-local blog. Thank you!)

TEAM Westport: Celebrating 10 Years of Diverse Progress

Growing up in Tennessee, Harold Bailey attended segregated schools.

The Supreme Court decided Brown vs. Board of Education when he was 6, but Bailey’s city integrated its schools s-l-o-w-l-y: one grade at a time. Not until 10th grade did he and his black classmates have the chance to attend school with whites — and even then, it was by choosing vocational offerings.

He and some friends wanted to be engineers. So they took drafting classes, adding as many academic subjects as they could. “That’s how we ‘integrated’ the high school,” Bailey — now a longtime Westporter, a business executive with IBM and other companies, and a former Brown University trustee — says.

Harold Bailey, today.

Harold Bailey, today.

White parents yelled; white students pushed the few black students into lockers. In late November, 1963 things came to a head. Everyone expected a big fight — but the next day, President Kennedy was assassinated. Bailey and his other friends talked to administrators when school resumed; things settled down.

Half a century later, Bailey recalls that “profound experience. It had a seminal effect on me.”

Realizing that racial prejudice has negative effects on members of the majority as well as minorities, he’s worked all his adult life to bring people together.

In the early 2000s, Bailey’s wife Bernicestine McLeod Bailey — owner of an IT consulting firm, and a Brown trustee emerita — talked with then-first selectwoman Diane Farrell about the need to address diversity in Westport. Local realtor Cheryl Scott-Daniels had the same idea, at the same time.

The "Jolly Nigger Bank," as described in the Westport Library exhibit.

The “Jolly Nigger” bank, as described in the Westport Library exhibit.

In February 2003, the Westport Library recognized Black History Month with a display of “black memorabilia.” Unfortunately, Bailey says, it was filled with “kitschy, offensive” items like a “Jolly Nigger” bank.

“There was no context,” he recalls. “Nothing showed how far we’d come.” Library director Maxine Bleiweis was away. When she returned, she immediately closed the exhibit. But damage had been done.

Bailey and other African American leaders in town met with library officials. (Bernicestine had just been named the first black library board member.) Soon, Farrell appointed a “Multicultural Steering Committee.”

The 16 original members — including Bailey and his wife — worked hard. Fairfield University professors led intense discussions on the history of race in the US. “We read 100 pages a week,” Bailey says. “We talked about the experiences of Chinese Americans, Hispanics and American Indians, and why Middle Easterners are considered ‘white’ here. It was intense.”

The group  evolved into TEAM Westport. (Member Ivan Fong came up with the acronym: Together Effectively Achieving Multiculturalism. Miggs Burroughs contributed the logo.) Farrell named it an official town commission. I was the 1st white male to join (representing the LGBT community). Al Puchala  and Nick Rudd followed.

TEAM-Westport-logo2“We never wanted to preach,” Bailey — the 1st, and so far only, chair — says, as TEAM Westport celebrates its 10th anniversary.

“Our aim is to work with different organizations, in a way that’s natural for Westport. And to have fun.”

Over the past decade, TEAM Westport has hosted an event on the former slave ship Amistad, and sponsored discussions at churches and synagogues.

They organized speakers for Staples High School US History classes: men and women who lived through segregation, were interned as Japanese-Americans in US camps during World War II, and suffered discrimination as Hispanics.  One year, all sophomores saw the Westport Country Playhouse production of “Thurgood,” starring James Earl Jones.

TEAM Westport brought a jazz master to work with the Staples band, as well as a black chef, authors and playwrights. The group also worked on issues of integrity and race relations with principal John Dodig. Each year, TEAM Westport presents 1 or 2 graduating seniors with scholarships, in recognition of their work around diversity issues.

2013 TEAM Westport scholarship winners Rusty Schindler and August Laska pose with Harold Bailey and then-1st selectman Gordon Joseloff.

2013 TEAM Westport scholarship winners Rusty Schindler and August Laska pose with Harold Bailey and then-1st selectman Gordon Joseloff.

The group also partnered with the Playhouse during “Raisin in the Sun,” sponsoring 24 lectures and discussions on topics like race and housing, and talkbacks following other productions. This fall they’ll offer programming around “Intimate Apparel,” the capstone of the 2014 Playhouse schedule.

TEAM Westport has awarded “Trailblazer” honors to people like Andy Boas, who works with Bridgeport schools; former superintendent of schools Claire Gold, and longtime pediatrician Dr. Al Beasley.

TEAM Westport Trailblazers (from left) Andy Boas, Claire Gold, Dr. Al Beasley.

TEAM Westport Trailblazers (from left) Andy Boas, Claire Gold, Dr. Al Beasley.

Earlier this year, TEAM Westport organized 7 weeks of panels around the famed “Eyes on the Prize” series. The group is also sponsoring an essay contest for high school students, on the theme of America as an increasingly pluralistic country.

Some of TEAM Westport’s most crucial work is done out of the limelight. “If someone is treated the wrong way by a merchant in town, or there is some sort of incident in one of the schools, we can talk about it,” Bailey says. “Maybe we can help get a resolution. That’s so rewarding — especially as we see children grow.”

Looking back on 10 years as Westport’s low-key, but very important, official multicultural organization, Bailey says, “So many people have told us, after a discussion or event, how touched they were. They say, in various ways, that what we do has enabled them to connect the dots of their lives — and talk about it all. That’s when we realize we really are making progress, and moving in the right direction.”

Some TEAM Westport members in 2010, at the home of longtime supporter Ann Sheffer. Front row (from left): Dolores Paoli, Patricia Wei, Stephanie Kirven, Susan Killian, Amy Lin-Myerson, Catherine Onyemelukwe. Rear: Barbara Butler, Glenn Lau-Kee, Nick Rudd, Harold Bailey, Bernicestine McLeod Bailey, Stu Losen.

Some TEAM Westport members in 2010, at the home of longtime supporter Ann Sheffer. From left: Dolores Paoli, Barbara  Butler, Patricia Wei, Glenn Lau-Kee, Stephanie Kirven, Nick Rudd, Susan Killian, Harold Bailey, Amy Lin-Myerson, Bernicestine McLeod Bailey, Stu Losen and Catherine Onyemelukwe.