Black History Month 2021 by, Maurice Scott
The importance of recognizing black history month is recognizing the endless accomplishments of the African American community that this country was built and functions on. From inventors of things you use every day such as the phone (Lewis Latimer) or computer screen (Mark Dean) you are reading this on, to the traffic light (Garret Morgan) you sit at or the train (Granville Woods) you took to commute. To even the eyes you are using (Patricia Bath), who restored the eyesight to many Americans with her invention. To well-known civil rights activists like Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcom X, Rosa Parks, John Lewis, and countless others who fought to uplift African Americans and taught us to stand up against oppression. Who put America on notice of the value African Americans brought to this country, and ultimately, fought for the equality that those on the right side of history want to see. Without African Americans I think it's safe to say this country would not be the leading nation that it is today.
My father and I collaborated with the JL Family because I felt that it was time that we had a special edition rowing collection. A collection that exemplifies the African American community. From the Kente cloth like design to represent royalty, creativity, and innovation. To the gold cord that represents wealth, leadership, and strength. And to the word that I believe is often overlooked, “Unity”, that is very prevalent I think now more than ever that we want amongst us all. I am really excited that JL is leading the way in representation amongst the rowing apparel brands and showing we can celebrate the unique ethnicities, sexualities, personalities etc within our sport. Many say rowing is an elite sport and started that way but I say no. Partially what goes into being “elite” is the work ethic that we have as rowers and the strain we put on our bodies BUT we will never be truly elite until we can accept talents from EVERY walk of life and make others feel that they can be a part of our sport without having to be white, rich, heterosexual, or whatever else that holds someone back(besides the early mornings. we can’t change that aha). I want to get to a time where a kid from any walk of life can look at rowing in the Olympics or even on the river in their own backyards and say “hey they look like me”.
I believe the moment OUR sport can break down these racial, sexual, and social-economical barriers it will be one of the most prominent sports in the world. Mark my words. Happy Black History Month!
Written by Team JL Captain, Maurice Scott