DURHAM, N.C. – Duke rowing senior Sarah Fletcher helped to organize the program’s first ever Pride Race Saturday morning on Lake Michie against North Carolina.
This race was aimed at developing an inclusive environment and letting everyone know Duke rowing and Duke Athletics are supportive of all communities.
“Athlete Ally, to me, will always be about the commitment I made to help in leading this community to make everyone feel respected and accepted,” Fletcher said.
Fletcher, who serves as the president of Duke’s Athlete Ally chapter, worked to help create and promote the competition against North Carolina.
“As a team, we’ve been working towards being more unified both in our goals and in our actions,” Fletcher said. “It was really awesome to see the team come together and make a unified statement of support for the LBGTQ+ community. This race was intended to send a message to team members, past and present, and even beyond that to all Duke student-athletes: every athlete, regardless of how they identify, is invaluable to their team’s success and deserves the chance to play as their full self and be embraced as such.”
Athlete Ally is a non-profit organization that “provides public awareness campaigns, educational programming and tools and resources to foster inclusive sports communities” on more than 80 college campuses.
“I’m very proud of Sarah Fletcher for having an idea and working hard to see her vision come to light,” head coach Megan Cooke Carcagno said. “Sarah is one of those athletes who has many talents. I’m honored by the role she takes on our team. Diversity and inclusion are always goals of our team. Having Sarah makes those goals that much more attainable.”
The Duke rowing team joins the Blue Devils’ field hockey program, which has made its Pride Game an annual tradition. The women’s soccer squad also joined in on the effort and held its first annual Pride Game this year. These events continue to increase awareness and education of the issue of equality and make every environment one that is inclusive to all people.