Updated Jan 14: the rowing community is invited to a special event on Martin Luther King Day with special guest, Dr. Anna Malaika Tubbs, the author of the NY Times Bestselling book The Three Mothers, which captures how the mothers of MLK, Malcolm X, and James Baldwin shaped a nation. You won't want to miss her important words!
Click here to register - if you can't make it, register anyway to receive a recording of the event.
"Everyone can be great because everyone can serve." -Martin Luther King Jr.
In the aftermath of the A Most beautiful Thing Inclusion Fund efforts that introduced over 2,000 youth to the sport and put over $450,000 dollars into programs across the country, Arshay Cooper is working on a project for Martin Luther King Jr Day on January 17, 2022, that he is calling "Day On."
"We all know that King Day is considered a day of service," Cooper said. "But Coretta Scott King said that 'King Day is not a day off but a day on.'
"Service, and service on this day, have always been a part of my life and job. Growing up watching professional basketball and football, the thing that struck me most was the commercial break with NBA Cares and NFL Cares foundations. It definitely changed some of my thoughts on professional athletes after watching their service to others. With that, I am working on 'Day On' to show that Rowing Cares. I have already reached out to a number of programs, and Brick City Rowing, Princeton University, Boston University, BLJ, Seattle Scullers, Cal, UW, and many other collegiate, high school, and master's teams will join me and AMBTIF for a national day of service.
"I will be announcing this on #GivingTuesday and would love to say that you and your team is on board with us to partner and give back to the local community. Only if time allows. No pressure. So please talk to your team. "
Cooper is encouraging programs to partner with local groups who are already at work improving opportunities in their communities.
"My suggestion is that we challenge the athletes to find a community partner with strong community roots, such as a YMCA, public school, Americorps, Boys and Girls Club, local churches or non-profits, food bank, shelter, hospital, etc. We want to stay away from 'We are saving this community,' and partner alongside these groups, adding people power to help and to understand how they do their work."
Cooper notes that many charities and service organizations can sometimes have too many volunteers on King Day, and encourages interested parties to research ahead of time to find organizations that actually need the person power on January 17. He adds that opportunities abound.
"This might include repainting a school playground, cooking at a local shelter, or helping with school library organizing and book drive. With Covid, food insecurity is at a high, so maybe helping at a food bank. '
Cooper is offering his expertise and encouragement to individuals and groups who want to participate.
"I am here to help with ideas, so please let me know if you're in," he said. "On the morning of King day, I will be organizing a virtual event with a special speaker to get us ready and excited for that day."
We will update this news as the effort comes together, stay tuned.