Racist Incident Leaves Community Unsettled

Junior Happi ’23 and Abigail Sinclair ’23 (Photo: Mr. John Spear).

Recently, two Northwood experienced an unsettling event in which they were treated with incivility. The students were heading to a faculty home on the edge of campus, and while they were on their way, a vehicle drove past them on Northwood Road, took a U-turn, came back, and a yelled racist slur. The New York State Police have an active investigation into the incident that includes the acquisition of nearby security camera footage in the hopes of identifying the perpetrators.

News of the incident, which occurred on October 1, was shared with the Northwood community on October 4 in the form of a message from Mr. Kelvin Martinez, Northwood’s Dean of Multicultural Affairs and Mr. John Spear, Assistant Head for School Life.

Martinez has been supporting the students, who are Black. “There’s still such a massive lack of awareness and empathy for people who are different, who look different, sound different,” Martinez said. “It shocked students, especially those from underrepresented communities, creating a sense of tension and insecurity,” Martinez added. “Because it happened right at our doorstep. You want to walk out of campus feeling that you belong to at least the immediate community, and for the otherwise to happen, it almost feels like a part of your humanity is being chipped away,” Martinez said.

“It was sad, but sadly not completely shocking.” That is Abby Sinclair’s perspective. Sinclair is the president of the Multicultural Students’ Club (MSC). “Based on some things that I’ve seen within our own community and the Lake Placid area, I would say that sometimes, being a person of color, I have seen weird looks and uncomfortable atmosphere when coming into town,” Sinclair said. She would have liked the school to talk about the incident more openly. “It’s kind of sad to see the lack of talking that has been done about it within our own classes and community—enough wasn’t done in trying to support people of color. This should have been an opportunity to bring the community closer together, but rather it’s done nothing, essentially,” she added.

“Unfortunately, it’s something that a lot of people have to deal with,” said Mr. Riffle, Northwood’s Director of Admissions. “It’s a very small percentage, I believe, of our makeup that are like that or are ignorant in that way. In my opinion, it affected those two individuals personally and had a community-wide effect because it brings to the forefront that it’s still out there and it’s sad,” Riffle added. Riffle expressed both concern and admiration for the students involved. “It’s sad that people have to deal with it. I just feel really bad for those kids, but at the same time, I know that they’re strong. If that had happened to me at their age, I don’t know if I would have handled it as well as they did.”

“I was shocked,” Junior Happi ‘23, Vice President of the MSC, said. “This was my first time hearing of a racial incident in Lake Placid since I’ve been here. If I was in that situation, I wouldn’t have known what to do, and more awareness towards what to do in that situation needs to be built in the community, at Northwood and Lake Placid. There needs to be more awareness about racial discrimination in Lake Placid, and it should be taken more seriously. These cases don’t often happen, but we need to be prepared for when it does,” he added.


Story Archive

The Mirror was established in 1927
© 2015-2022 by the Staff of The Mirror
The Mirror's Policy Manual and Style Guide.
The Mirror is funded by gifts to the Northwood Fund. Thank you.

%d bloggers like this: