Diversity Initiative’s 2nd Annual Ally Week

Camilla Bianchi, ‘19

In the week of May 8-12th, the second Ally Week took place. Organized by the Diversity Initiative, Ally Week is a project inspired by NYU that attempts to strengthen allyship within the BHSEC community. Allyship refers to privileged and nonprivileged groups working together in order to improve their community. Therefore, the purpose of the week was to strengthen the community at BHSEC by encouraging unity and support among the students, in addition to raising awareness about issues such as discrimination and segregation within BHSEC. The week was filled with events every day in order to guarantee a long-lasting effect on the students at BHSEC. On Monday, the morning started with a microaggression stand, in which students stood outside the building before school started holding signs with common microaggressions written on them. The microaggression stand was a way to raise awareness among BHSEC students of phrases that often offend others, for example, one of the signs said: “Don’t say the N word if you’re not black.” It was followed by a scavenger hunt in the afternoon. The purpose of the scavenger hunt was to introduce people to the locations of the events for the week, and to remind them of what happened during the last Ally Week. The last Ally Week included events such as a town hall, a debate on the topic of “who gets into BHSEC,” a pep rally, international night, and a lip sync battle. Tuesday also began with the micro aggression stand. Throughout the school day, students also wore black shirts with with micro aggressions written on them. Students wore name tags with labels they had been given  by society in order to raise awareness of the prejudice within our community. Wednesday was Community Day. The day began with workshops led by members of the Diversity Initiative, either discussing microaggressions, school culture, or allyship in the classroom. First period was then followed by community day workshops and the teach-in. The day ended with an amazing pep-rally in the yard, with games, dancing, and tp-ing of teachers. The pep-rally was a community building event that attempted to tighten the relationships among the students in the school in order to work toward a stronger community. On Thursday, the Diversity Initiative hosted International Night, where students brought cultural foods, and dressed in their traditional clothing in order to celebrate their cultures. The night was filled with dancing, singing, learning about new cultures, and enjoying delicious new foods. International Night was meant to construct an inclusive and safe environment for everyone by showing people that their cultures are accepted and celebrated in the BHSEC community. To end the week, the Diversity Initiative organized a “Night Under the Stars,” a masquerade/open mic night. The ball took place in the auditorium, where students danced, performed on stage, took some crazy pictures with the chemistry faculty, and celebrated the happenings of the week. Anwen, 10th grade, says: “Ally week was a great way to bring together the community. I feel like the masquerade ball in particular was a success in bringing people from different grades into one space and just having fun.” Overall, Ally Week was extremely fun and allowed students to come together and enjoy themselves after long days of work. However, the week was not only fun, but also raised awareness about the issues within the community at BHSEC, encouraging students to think of ways to resolve the ongoing discrimination and segregation in the classroom.

Illustration credit: Annalivia Balaban, ’18

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