The 01 October marks the start of Black History Month, an opportunity to recognise and highlight the contributions that Black people have made, and continue to make, across sailing, boating and watersports.
The RYA is a proud supporter of Black History Month, it is a time to celebrate both the things that make us unique as individuals and to celebrate diversity in our sport. We all deserve the opportunity to embrace our blue spaces and to be recognised for our achievements, however big or small.
As a National Governing Body, the RYA is committed to encouraging diversity across sailing and boating and championing inclusion. Celebrating Black History Month with members is part of a calendar of events throughout the year to ensure that everyone feels welcome and recognised, regardless of background, ability, or level of experience.
Encouraging inclusive language at RYA affiliated clubs and centres is part of creating a culture where everyone is valued. This year, the RYA launched the Inclusive Language Guide: Modern Day Manners to help affiliate organisations navigate the ever-changing vocabulary used in everyday conversations.
The RYA has also been supporting clubs and centres to apply for grants from The Together Fund. The Fund works with local communities to find new ways to support people from lower socio-economic groups, culturally diverse communities, people with disabilities or long-term health conditions to be active.
Throughout October, the RYA will be amplifying the individual voices of Black people from within the recreational boating community as they reflect and share what getting on the water has meant to them. These will be published as articles and videos across the RYA social media platforms and newsletters.
We would like to welcome RYA members and the wider boating community to support our Black History Month celebrations by following and sharing our posts on social media, or by commenting below the posts with your own experiences. You can also follow #BlackHistoryMonth on social media.
Katie Loucaides, RYA Safeguarding and Equality Manager, said: “Celebrating Black History Month is an important event for the RYA. Recognising the achievements of Black people and highlighting individual stories is a crucial part of encouraging an open and welcoming sport.
“We hope that by sharing and recognising the stories of those taking part in Black History Month that more participants from ethnically diverse backgrounds will feel confident to share their experiences, both positive and negative. Learning from the experiences of boat users is an integral ingredient in ensuring a welcoming sporting culture for all and securing a thriving future for on the water activities.”
Read the first of our stories celebrating Black History Month from Lungi Mchunu.
To learn more about equality and diversity at the RYA, please visit the Equality, diversity and inclusion hub.