Lemmon thinks that Pinewood must take structural action because she has seen the firsthand effects of a lack thereof.
“I think with the recent uproar and realization that we’ve all had...it is crucial that Pinewood does something to support its Black students. I know that, from talking to Black students and alumni, the overwhelming sentiment is that they felt like they couldn’t be themselves here. It’s not really outward racism but just a sense of not belonging and holding back about talking about this matter,” Lemmon said.
So how can Pinewood actively take a stand to support its students?
For Coote, one of the greatest tools of educating people and spreading the word about racial injustices is simple.
“I think we should have more conversations, and I believe that Pinewood could be a much more accepting place if we were open to having more difficult conversations as opposed to just saying they’re difficult,” he said.
Harris agrees with this sentiment, and she has already seen progress in this direction.
“This year in my classes, we’ve been having a lot of good talks about race like when we read [The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn]. In history, we’ve also been learning a lot about the history of America and slavery. I think that’s really good, and I think we definitely need to continue the conversations that happened over the summer,” Harris said.
To sum it all up, Coote simply wants every student to feel good about themselves.
“I think it’s really about making sure that everyone knows that everyone at Pinewood belongs here, no matter what background they come from,” Coote said.