By Brooke Pan (VI)
Following the burgeoning civil rights movement over the past several months, seniors Monica Chan (VI) and Luc Francis (VI) are carrying the momentum into the Pingry community with a new student-based group. The Pingry Allyship Collective (PAC) has outlined a specific and defined goal: to better the community in all aspects of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) through collaborative education. “PAC will act as the missing liaison between the administration and the current student-led DEI groups and programs,” Chan said.
While the creation of the club cannot be attributed to any individual event, the ideas behind the club largely arose in response to the tragic murder of George Floyd. Shortly after news of the event was made public, “the leaders of the Asian Student Union (ASU) reached out to all the student leaders saying that [they] should come together to have a meeting and an open dialogue about these issues,” Francis said, “And so we just came together one day as a group—really at that point, we were just friends, leaders within the community—talking and having an open dialogue . . . but eventually, we realized that the action we all felt we needed to take could be answered with the Pingry Allyship Collective.”
The PAC welcomes any students who are interested in learning more about DEI issues in our community, drawing awareness to those issues, and brainstorming solutions. With its group-based education, students can learn about a diverse array of topics in a safe and welcoming environment through the various projects available. These projects encompass all topics relating to DEI, ranging from advisory activities to Pingry publications, in hopes of educating members of the specific project and the greater Pingry community. For instance, junior Isabella Briones (V) has begun work on PAC’s first project: to create a “glossary of terms about DEI that are specific to Pingry, such as defining the differences between an affinity group or student union.” “We can publish that to be accessible to the wider community,” explained Chan, “I’m really excited about our first project which will be presented during our first meeting.” At each of these meetings, students can either join existing projects such as Briones’s or form their own, all under the guidance and support of the PAC leadership team. This team is comprised of roughly 25 student leaders of affinity groups, student unions, student government, diversity groups, and more. Their role is to oversee project assignments, production, and serve as a helping hand to anyone who needs it. As the meetings progress, the PAC hopes to provide a comprehensive list of projects that can meet anyone’s specific interests. While the projects aim to address specific issues extensively, as part of broader discussions about DEI, “the goal of the projects isn’t to grill people,” Francis said, “The main goal of PAC is to make DEI available for as many people as possible and make it commonplace. We’re all Pingry students and we all understand that we have a lot of work to do—we have homework, clubs, sports— so the project structure of our group basically allows people to pick what projects they’re interested in and are willing to commit to.”
PAC was created with the intention of making the opportunity to contribute to DEI accessible to the Pingry community. The leaders have worked for months to provide avenues through which students can create tangible change. Too often community service is regarded as a requirement rather than a responsibility; by engaging the student body with meaningful DEI initiatives, PAC hopes to create lasting change and foster a culture of community-based learning and improvement. Everyone, regardless of previous involvement in DEI, is greatly encouraged to participate. If interested, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more information!