PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A special gathering took place along the Schuylkill River during this weekend’s Independence Day Regatta as an effort to encourage diversity in rowing.
Not only is Parthenia Izzard a rowing referee, she’s the only African American female officer of the Schuylkill Navy.
“It’s not for a lack of interest, I don’t think,” she said. “It’s a lack of education.”
So, to encourage more participation from the African American community, she invited members of the African American sororities and fraternities to a regatta viewing party in a tent along the river.
“Since I’m secretary now, I sort of brought it up at one of the meetings and talked to the board and they thought it was a good idea,” she explained. “So, I just spread the word and different sororities and fraternities responded and came on down.”
Wanda Lewis-Campbell says for years she’s driven by Boathouse Row and didn’t realize people could participate in rowing by simply joining a club.
“Kids don’t think, ‘It’s for us, she said. We don’t own a boat. My parents don’t own a boat, so how am I going to do this,’” she said.
And Izzard says if you don’t row, you can’t enjoy the benefits.
“We also want to have our young people take advantage of some of the scholarships that they can get,” she adds.