A family mission for inclusion
Henniyah and Henri are two of triplets. Their sibling Helaina sat out of the Games due to an injury.
They are continuing on the path blazed by their father Henri Rivers III, president of the National Brotherhood of Snowsports (NBS): “We’ve been around for 51 years, and our mission is to identify, develop, and support athletes of colour and get them to an elite status where they can compete for international Olympic opportunities,” said the current head coach of the Jamaica Ski team.
Henri Rivers III has spent years advocating for the inclusion of black skiers, and in recognition of his efforts in 2021, he became the inaugural recipient of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion Award.
“The motivation is when you come outside into the cold, into this outdoor wonderland, you want this for everyone. I like this and everyone else should have an opportunity to enjoy it,” he said looking at the mountains around him.
He explained how the NBS is introducing winter sports to young black kids across the USA, from snowboard, ski, and snowshoe, to hike, backcountry, and uphill skiing: “I remember the first trip I did, kids didn’t even get up on a snowboard. They were on their belly sliding down the hill on a snowboard, with their wing arms out like wings, just having so much fun. That was more entertaining and exciting to me than even seeing them get up on the snowboard!”
Rivers’ no-profit organisation operates on a volunteer basis, helping around 1,000 kids this year to be exposed to winter sports and has a global outreach, branching out to clubs also in the UK.
If you want to support the National Brotherhood of Snowsports check here.