Librarian Lynne Cohen hosts her final race reels


Lizzy Filine, Arts Writing Editor

Even between urging others to take more pizza and cake and planning Poetry Fest for later this month, librarian and member of the Race Reels committee Lynne Cohen never fails to put a smile on her face.  

Cohen has been a member of the Race Reels committee for the past five years since she started the program with former School Within a School teacher Abby Erdmann. Cohen attended her last Race Reels in her career at the high school this Wednesday, Feb. 3 for a showing of Los Graduados, a documentary about Latino students in high schools in the United States.

“It was as special as every Race Reels,” Cohen said. “I’m so proud of how it’s built on its own. It’s been snowballing into this huge fantastic monthly event, and we always have a great crowd. We always have amazing discussions, and I’m always so thrilled to be a part of the Brookline community.”

Social studies teacher and member of the Race Reels committee Malcolm Cawthorne said Cohen has been an important part of the program over the past few years because of her energy and ability to organize all the elements essential to the functioning of Race Reels.

“I know we’ll be fine, but she was always sort of a human checklist,” Cawthorne said. “It’s a huge loss for us, but she has certainly put in her time.”

Cawthorne said that the school-focus of the movie made the evening particularly meaningful for him.

“I thought tonight was really special,” Cawthorne said. “We’ve been better about having movies that target lots of different groups, so this is the first one this year that is about Latino students, and it’s really student-oriented.”

Cohen also said that the school community feeling is an integral part of her experience.  

“The student voices, the people who spoke, hearing people who just feel like this is a forum where they can be vulnerable and honest and talk about their experiences; it’s crazy!” Cohen said. “It for me has really re-enforced that if I was going to be anywhere for my career this is where I would be.”

Cohen said that Race Reels have been rewarding because of the turnout of students and families in the Brookline community.

“How many people are there going to be? Where is everybody?” Cohen said. “But every single time without fail 6:00 rolls around, and the room is full and I think that’s fantastic. I’m happy. Im proud.”

Cawthorne said he feels it is important to continue the tradition of Race Reels after the foundation that Cohen and Erdmann had established.

“They (Erdmann and Cohen) really worked hard, on the format, on having different videos, talking to different groups, making sure we’re all-inclusive about race, having speakers, keeping the movie to an hour, all those things,” Cawthorne said. “They went through all the lumps and ironed them all out so that we could have it. So I see it as my job to keep that going.”