Explore PV CORE

A community coalition works to celebrate diversity in the area

The+Pascack+Valley+Coalition+of+Rights+and+Equity%2C+also+known+as+PV+CORE%2C++is+a+community+organization+that+aims+to+celebrate+diversity+within+Hillsdale%2C+River+Vale%2C+Montvale%2C+Park+Ridge%2C+Woodcliff+Lake%2C+Washington+Township%2C+and+Emerson.+Above+is+a+picture+of+PV+CORE+members+at+a+vigil+they+held+over+the+summer.+%0A

Contributed by Alice Urbiel

The Pascack Valley Coalition of Rights and Equity, also known as PV CORE, is a community organization that aims to celebrate diversity within Hillsdale, River Vale, Montvale, Park Ridge, Woodcliff Lake, Washington Township, and Emerson. Above is a picture of PV CORE members at a vigil they held over the summer.

Ilmie Xhaferi, Staff Editor

(Editor’s Note: To highlight the district’s efforts to spread inclusivity and equity throughout the Pascack Valley community, The PV Student Publication will be publishing opinion and feature articles on various groups and organizations within the district that align with its mission.)

Following the death of George Floyd, which sparked many Black Lives Matter protests held across the nation, Hillsdale resident Meredith Kates recalled the Hillsdale community coming together to speak about racial injustice.

“[The George Floyd murder] was really the turning point where a group of residents that I know came together and said we have to gather and we have to speak out on this,” Kates said. “I lived in Hillsdale for a long time, but it was the first time I saw any action as a response to a Black Lives Matter issue.” 

Realizing that the desire to speak out against injustices was prominent throughout the Pascack Valley region, a group of residents in the Pascack Valley has formed the Pascack Valley Coalition of Rights and Equity, also known as PV CORE. The coalition is a community organization that aims to celebrate diversity within Hillsdale, River Vale, Montvale, Park Ridge, Woodcliff Lake, Washington Township, and Emerson. 

“[PV CORE] welcomes all races, religions, sexual orientations, and cultural backgrounds that are interested in embracing and learning more about advocating for issues of anti-racism, human rights causes, and quality in all those areas,” Kates said. 

Kates is a member of PV CORE’s steering committee, which consists of the initial groups of residents who organized the coalition. Since the coalition consists of nearly 300 members, the group is split into eight subcommittees: anti-racism, pride, arts and literature, intersectional network, woman/feminism, teaching and education, local government, and the next generation subcommittee. 

Ilmie Xhaferi

“There were so many social justice issues that we wanted to tackle, and so many different avenues that we knew we had to put together [these] subdivisions,” former steering committee member Gia Guzman said. “If we didn’t do that, then there’s no way we can really provide the right amount of attention to those issues.” 

Kates said the subcommittees try to meet virtually once a month, and PV CORE also has a book club that meets monthly as well. While there is no “formal membership” process that residents have to complete to join the coalition, Kates said most of the members interact with each other through PV CORE’s Facebook group. 

“The goals of PV CORE are something that anyone who describes himself [or herself] as a good person would get behind,” PV CORE member Alice Urbiel said.

Although he is not a PV CORE member, senior Christian Downey said he’s enjoyed “witnessing the creation” of PV CORE as his mother, Karina, is one of the original members of the coalition. 

“I think [PV CORE] is a good step for our community because it’s a new group,” Downey said. “I think the group is extremely open and tolerant of people within our community because they’re trying to avoid a lack of representation. As a result, PV CORE was formed with the goal of promoting racial equity, especially within our own area.” 

Within the past year, some of the projects that the coalition has organized include holiday drives, contributing donations to the Helping Hand Food Pantry, and participating in the YWCA Racial Equity and Social Justice 21 Day challenge through its Facebook page. The coalition also hosted a virtual event in October in which the coalition invited PV-based advocates to discuss how the Pascack region can build and maintain an inclusive community.  

“I feel like 2020 woke a lot of people up to a lot of different issues that obviously existed well before 2020,” Urbiel said. “But the extent to which it was affecting everyone kind of made a lot of like-minded people, like myself, want to get to know their neighbors and talk about what we could do as a group of people from the same place to promote equity rights.”