Award-winning Black author and rower Arshay Cooper spoke at RIVERSPORT during his visit to Oklahoma City May 6 for OpportUnity Day at the Oklahoma River.
“When Arshay first visited Oklahoma City in February, he was so excited about the opportunities we have, he wanted to come back,” said Mike Knopp, executive director of RIVERSPORT.
Cooper spoke and then attendees had a chance to learn about rowing and paddlesports, then engage in some of RIVERSPORT’s adventure activities, all part of OpportUnity Day.
The Thunder Drum line kicked off Opportunity Day, and City Councilwoman Nikki Nice and County Commissioner Carrie Blumert participated in the festivities with Cooper as well. Local celebrity JaBee, an Emmy-award winning hip hop performer, attended and served pizza from his new Eastside Pizza Kitchen.
“Arshay is a catalyst for connecting with kids and people in the Black community,” Knopp said.
Originally from the west side of Chicago, Cooper was part of the country’s first all-Black high school rowing team, an experience he said that changed his life. His award-winning memoir, “A Most Beautiful Thing,” was adapted into a film named one of the best of 2020 by Esquire Magazine.