What to Know
- A Snapchat video shows a Massachusetts high school cheerleading coach smiling while raising her fist and saying "white power."
- The coach eventually responded with her own post, apologizing and taking responsibility.
- The president of the Boston Branch of the NAACP says this needs to become a teachable moment.
A Snapchat video shows a Massachusetts high school cheerleading coach smiling while raising her fist and saying "white power."
The 11-second clip of Stephanie Cuevas, the cheerleading coach at Lynn English High School, emerged over the weekend after being flagged by Jarod Dennis.
"I'm like, 'Is this serious right here?' Unfortunately, she did it on social media," Dennis said.
Dennis is a former coach on the Lynn Chargers youth football team, where Cuevas is a secretary and board member.
"There's interracial kids, there's Asian kids, there's black kids on the team," said Dennis.
The video was then uploaded on Facebook, where there has been a robust conversation. Some are calling what Cuevas did racist while others are now defending her character, saying she's married to a Hispanic man.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
Cuevas eventually responded with her own post, apologizing and taking responsibility. But she tried to clarify by saying, in part, "I was making fun of myself in the video because that's my personality! And for the record, I'm white power, black power, Mexican power, and human race power period."
NBC10 Boston has tried to reach Cuevas multiple times for her side of the story, but she refused. Her attorney instead referred us to her statements already made on social media.
Since that statement, the Chargers football program and the high school have launched investigations. Both say the content of the video was inappropriate and they are deciding what to do next.
"What do we do when young people she works with decide to follow her lead and put up their fist and start saying 'white power' to one another?" asked Tanisha Sullivan, president of the Boston Branch of the NAACP.
Sullivan says this needs to become a teachable moment, with some type of accountability.
"Because we're not just talking about an average citizen who goes about her life," she said. "We're talking about a leader in our community."
Dennis says Cuevas should be forgiven, and he believes, deep down, she is not racist. But he is hoping his Lynn community understands certain words and actions have consequences, regardless of intent.
"It's just unacceptable," Dennis said. "You can't do that."
The Boston branch of the NAACP is recommending the school district and football program launch deep conversations about race, along with sensitivity training.