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Update: Sad News About Brooks Walker ’25

Dear members of the Emerson community,

I am writing to follow up with additional information regarding the tragic death of a member of our student community. With his family’s blessing, we can share that on Friday, February 3, Brooks Walker, 19, of East Orange, NJ, a Media Arts Production major and a member of the Class of 2025, died in his residence hall room. At this time, there is no indication of suspicious or intentional circumstances surrounding his death. Out of respect for the family’s privacy, we will not be sharing further details.

I had the privilege of spending some time with Brooks’ mother and members of his immediate family, and I am touched by their love, strength, and devotion to one another. I remember fondly getting to know Brooks when we acted in a scene together for the 2021 College holiday video.  It’s clear to me after spending time with Brooks’ family that they shaped his warmth, energy, and creativity. Brooks served as a Resident Assistant in the Little Building, where he supported and welcomed first-year students to the Emerson community. In addition, Brooks worked in the College’s Athletics department providing program support, while also working at Starbucks, both here in Boston and in his hometown in New Jersey. All those who knew Brooks understood his creative passion and drive. His mother shared with me that Brooks has been snapping photos and planning videos since he was 10 years old, winning awards at local film festivals, which led to being recruited to internships as a result of his talent.  He is survived by his mother, Malika Johnson, his younger sister Briyana Walker, grandparents Jacqueline and Larry Johnson, and a large family of loving aunts, uncles and cousins.

Our hearts go out to Brooks’ family, friends, classmates and faculty as they grieve this devastating loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers in the coming days, weeks and months ahead. 

Losses like this remind us how precious, and sometimes fleeting, life can be. A campus vigil for all members of the Emerson community to join together in Brooks’ memory will be held on-campus in the near future. We will share those event details with you as soon as they become available. We will also share further information when it becomes available about any additional memorial gatherings or services planned to celebrate Brooks’ life.

As we previously announced, the College has set up a gathering area for students on the second-floor of the Little Building, Room 225, which will continue to be available today, Sunday from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. ET. Counseling staff and chaplains will be present through the weekend. 

If you, or someone you know, is in need of assistance as you mourn this loss, there are several resources on campus available to students, staff, and faculty including the Healing & Advocacy Collective, the Office of Spiritual Life, the Employee Assistance Program, Emerson Counseling and Psychological Services. The College has professional staff on call 24 hours a day and can be reached by contacting any member of the residence education staff, or by contacting ECPD at 617-824-8555.

During this difficult time, please continue to be generous and kind to one another as we collectively grieve the loss of Brooks. 

Sincerely,

William Gilligan
Interim President

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