Dear Members and Friends of Station L Rowing Club,
We are writing to acknowledge the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Keith Scott, and so many others, as well as to acknowledge threats like those made to Christian Cooper. We acknowledge the tremendous impact that these events, and the systemic racism that caused them, have had on the Black community and other communities of color. Acknowledgement is necessary, but not sufficient, and we are eager to work together to make sure that we also act.
The love of rowing can be a meaningful common ground with the power to cut across all backgrounds. We must also recognize that systemic racism and privilege exists in rowing, with roots in elitism, exclusivity, and unequal access. The sport of rowing and this Club are best served by welcoming and reflecting all people, regardless of race, national origin, gender, age, ability, religion, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status. We acknowledge, respect, and honor the work our members and others have been doing to identify and address systemic racism, marginalization, and oppression faced by communities of color.
Recognizing that we sit at the intersection of a long history of exclusion and an urgent need for action, Station L is committed to identifying ways to increase diversity, inclusion, and equity within the sport of rowing and our Club. For those looking to take immediate action, Station L strongly encourages members to volunteer their time or make a donation to Rose City Rowing Club’s outreach program directed at underserved communities. All hours volunteered with RCRC’s outreach program will count towards a member’s volunteer hours with Station L. Contact RCRC for more information or visit www.rosecityrowing.org/about/contacts.php. Station L also encourages members to donate to other rowing organizations that address inequitable access to the sport. Such organizations include RowNewYork (rownewyork.org); Chicago Community Rowing (www.rowchicago.com); Philadelphia City Rowing (philadelphiacityrowing.org); and RowLA (rowla.org).
In the coming weeks, the Board will be undertaking a review of Club policies and bylaws to identify exclusionary language or practices, as well as ways to address potential barriers to access. Your input is welcome. Please send your ideas to your team captains, who will compile feedback and share it with the Board. We have members with lived experience of the effects of racism and other systems of oppression. We have members who are actively working to promote justice and anti-racism. It is by listening to the experiences of others with appreciation, open hearts and minds, and objectively evaluating our practices that we can maintain, expand, and reflect our core values.
For those looking to center voices from people and communities of color in rowing, we encourage members to visit the podcast, Rowing in Color (https://linktr.ee/rowingincolor). Row New York has also developed a resource list (https://linktr.ee/rownewyork) for ways to act in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. For those interested in connecting more with each other at Station L, team leadership has compiled a list of resources designed to help learn from each other, support one another, and keep acting together. Team captains will be hosting a presentation of those resources in the near future.
The exclusionary history of rowing institutions will require dedicated focus and attention to ensure its past is not its future. We believe strongly in the capability of our Station L community to pull together, bringing the benefit of experiences, thoughtfulness, and resources into making sure that people of color are able to better access this amazing sport and to feel safe, included, and respected in doing so. We are committed to making both our Club and sport more inclusive and diverse.
Thank you for your support.
The Station L Board of Directors