Shades: Packer’s New POC Magazine
by Daisy Zuckerman and Maddie Gunnell
With the recent events concerning race relations both inside and outside of the Packer community, several students expressed their desire for a medium where POC excellence could be recognized and celebrated.
Christina Young (‘20) first had the idea to create a magazine for people of color after engaging in a number of forums dedicated to discussing issues present in our community.
“I thought that, in light of all of the negative things that were emerging, we needed to have a moment of celebration and recognition of the good people in our community who are making a positive impact,” said Christina. “Specifically people of color, who previously felt unrecognized.”
She hopes that this magazine, entitled Shades, will be an outlet for people of color to submit articles about the arts, athletics, STEM, and fashion, as well as op-eds and creative writing.
“Personally I’m really interested in having articles focusing on fashion and culture and whatnot, and what that looks like for people of color and how that’s different; how we express ourselves through those modes,” Christina explained.
Ashley Greene, Upper School Diversity Director and math teacher, has also been playing a key role in developing the magazine. She wants the magazine to be a place for both students and faculty of color to express their ideas about the issues that we have or have not been discussing.
“Over the past couple of years, there’s been this push from the administrators to hire more faculty of color,” explained Ms. Greene. “But before we reach out to other people, we should celebrate and acknowledge the faculty of color that we already have so that the people we bring in are enhancing the community and not the ‘go-to’ people.”
In terms of content, she wants the magazine to be a vehicle for storytelling and narratives.
“I think there are some faculty or people who work in the building, like maintenance, who have tremendous stories that nobody knows about,” Ms. Greene continued. “So I’m hoping that this magazine will help educate people and enlighten them; give them more insight to the people that we see everyday because we don’t really know their stories, specifically those who are POC.”
Both Christina and Ms. Greene emphasized that they want the magazine to address issues both inside and outside of the Packer community. Christina mentioned that she definitely wants to have some people write profiles on less recognized Civil Rights activists, because when we think of the movement, we often only think about Martin Luther King Jr., ignoring other essential figures.
She also wants the magazine to address current issues happening in our country and in our world, particularly those that are ignored in classes, but that members of the Packer community are still passionate about.
“Recognizing what’s happening outside of our community is really important because I feel like oftentimes we can lose sight of that,” Christina explained. “We live in this Packer bubble and that there are a lot of things going on outside of our community that need to be addressed and aren’t being addressed.”
She also made clear that Shades will not be a magazine solely for the black people in our community; she wants everyone who identifies as a person of color to feel welcome and encouraged to contribute.
She estimates that about 40 people have shown interest in contributing to the magazine, a mixture of students and teachers of all races. Christina addressed this, saying that although the magazine is a place for people of color to share their thoughts, she would love to have others editing or working on other parts of the magazine.
“I definitely want the voices of students and teachers who don’t identify as people of color to be in the magazine because I think that is crucial in making sure that we’re being heard as a whole. I feel like if it were just people of color, it would feel like a separation; an ‘us versus them’ thing and I don’t want that.”
Christina explained that Shades will mostly be an online magazine, but she has yet to decide whether it will contain monthly editions or habitual uploads. She hopes that the staff will be able to produce a print magazine once or twice a year, though that would depend on budgeting. The website will not be up until the beginning of the next school year, but for the remainder of this one, she and other contributors will be running an Instagram account so that people can share their work and spread interest.
“The online magazine will be more writing and opinion pieces heavy,” said Christina, “and the instagram will be an interactive way for people to stay up to date on the magazine.”
Christina is still in the process of choosing the editorial positions for the magazine, but she encourages everyone to help out, whether that means submitting artwork and articles or helping to edit the submissions. The instagram is @shadesmagazine_ and the submission email is firstname.lastname@example.org.