Rower, Talking Author, Child Advocate at OKC

Arshay Cooper

OKLAHOMA CITY, JR — Oklahoma City students will be able to hear award-winning black author and rower Arshay Cooper as he visits three schools Tuesday and Wednesday.

Cooper is also to address the Downtown Rotary Club and the Oklahoma Youth Literacy Program, and he will meet with the Oklahoma City Black Alumni Coalition. A public forum will be held Tuesday evening at the Chesapeake Boathouse, 725 S. Lincoln Blvd.

Hailing from the West Side of Chicago, Cooper was part of the nation’s first all-black rowing team, an experience he says changed his life. His award-winning memoirs, A more beautiful thingwas adapted into a film named one of the best of 2020 by Esquire Magazine.

The Riversport Foundation sponsored the author’s visit to the city as part of an effort to engage black youth in rowing.

“Arshay’s story speaks to the power of rowing to transform lives,” said Mike Knopp, Executive Director of Riversport. “We hope meeting Arshay in person will inspire black youth in Oklahoma City to take ownership of the sport.”

Rowing has been called the ultimate team sport for developing individual strengths.

“Universities know that kids who have the commitment to rowing are a good bet for college success,” Knopp said.

Cooper is scheduled to speak at Douglass High School, Millwood High and FD Moon Middle School.

The Public Forum at Chesapeake Boathouse is scheduled for 5-6 p.m.

Riversport’s Youth Rowing League has encouraged schools in the metro area to establish school rowing teams. Riversport provides training equipment and staff, and teams are free for Title I schools. Youngsters are also welcome to join the Riversport Juniors Crew. For more information, contact Youth Rowing League Head Coach Gena Terrill at 405-552-4040, ext. 4219, or email [email protected]

Lola R. McClure