There are many very important qualities that we look for in our rowers. One of the big ones i've seen and given is respect. A rower cultivates a respect for another rower because they share something. They share an experience that can only be known through living it. A rower can be held accountable to herself or himself on race or test day. We all expect to be held to the same standards and to judge someone on how fast they can move a boat with their teammates down a 2000m course.
We teach the things we want to see in our own society. In recent days it has been impossible to ignore the movement for equality going on around us. As a boathouse and program we are looking at the 8-ways to take action.
Knowledge is power. Get informed, read the history, and make your voice heard.
8 Ways To Take Action and Make Your Boathouse More Inclusive
June 6, 2020
Philadelphia City Rowing and Row New York
Philadelphia City Rowing and Row New York have joined forces to provide the following strategies you can use to make your boathouse a safer and more welcoming space for Black athletes and other athletes of color. Visit their websites for more resources: Philadelphia City Rowing and Row New York.
To Our Rowing Friends and Colleagues:
We are heartened to see the outpouring of support you've shown for Black communities while expressing an interest in listening and learning. We all have a responsibility to stop the systemic oppression and killing of Black people in our country and our communities. At this moment, it is particularly important to support and amplify the individuals and organizations leading this work. We have put together a list of resources that highlights some of these organizations and helps you learn more about actions we can take to change the larger societal injustices that must be addressed before any meaningful change can occur. Our friends at Row New York have also curated a list of mental health resources, educational materials about anti-racism, and ways to take action. You can find those resources here.
We also hear your calls for change within the rowing community specifically and hope that we can help. Both of our organizations are committed to actively increasing access to and diversity in the sport of rowing. The systems that have kept rowing a predominantly White space are the same ones that continue to oppress Black communities and other communities of color in all areas of life. These systems must change. Our sport must change. We challenge you to do more than show support. We challenge you to take action.
We acknowledge that our organizations are not perfect. We still have room to improve and need to improve. Below is our advice based on our first-hand experience of what has worked for us. Our organizations have come together to suggest strategies you can use to make your boathouse a safer and more welcoming space for Black athletes and other athletes of color. We hope you find them useful and are able to put them into action.
Philadelphia City Rowing & Row New York
8 Ways to Take Action and Make Your Boathouse More Inclusive
1. Consider how and why your club should be more diverse and inclusive.
2. Make anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion a priority of your organization. Build consensus around the need for changes and take action to make your club more equitable and inclusive.
3. Create a culture of respect and anti-racism that is welcoming to all. Educate yourself about the unique challenges faced by rowers of color, and work to ensure they have the same positive experience and opportunity to succeed as other athletes in your club. When new athletes join your club introduce yourself. Smile. Be friendly.
Photo by4. Provide educational workshops and professional development opportunities for staff and members focused on inclusion, integration, cultural diversity, and cultural competence. Hold one another accountable for advancing these issues. Do not tolerate discrimination, disrespect, or exclusionary behavior. Instances of overt and covert racism should be taken seriously and addressed promptly.
Photo by Madeline Kuntz5. Create opportunities for people without rowing experience to learn to row and become members of your club and the broader rowing community. Direct your outreach to communities that are under-represented in your club.
6. Make your programs more economically accessible by creating a scholarship fund, or by providing free or discounted access to your existing programs to individuals from racial or ethnic groups that are under-represented in your club.
7. Hire coaches and staff of color. Support initiatives that help build a pipeline of highly qualified coaches of color. Positions need not be limited to candidates with prior rowing experience, which can be a systemic barrier to otherwise qualified candidates (e.g. strength and conditioning coaches, fundraising professionals, accountants, etc.).