Diversify Whitewater Featured in RiverBent

Article Excerpt: 

“The lack of diversity in whitewater paddling isn’t a problem,” said Antoinette Lee Toscano, co-founder of Diversify Whitewater.

“No one’s going to die if we don’t go whitewater kayaking.”

That said, a day on the river can be nourishing for soul, mind, and body. And Diversify Whitewater, a nonprofit organization in Northern Colorado founded by Toscano and Lily Durkee, is working to bring the good vibes of river running to more people of different backgrounds and cultures.

With help from other national and local organizations, Diversify Whitewater organizes community paddling events and skills training for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). By creating a welcoming environment for BIPOC and allies, they are expanding a community that has traditionally drawn primarily white participants.

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Vanessa Jones

Committe Co-Chair

Vanessa A. Jones is a dynamic force dedicated to fostering
inclusivity, encouraging discussion, and promoting a culture of
belonging in the outdoor sports community. Hailing from
Washington, DC, she brings a wealth of diverse experiences and
perspectives to her endeavors.
As a US Army veteran and ordained Chaplain with a focus on
seniors and caretakers, Vanessa is deeply committed to serving
others. Her work as a patient-caretaker advocate reflects her
passion for supporting vulnerable populations and ensuring their
voices are heard.
Currently, Vanessa is employed by a resettlement agency, where
she confronts challenges head-on with resilience and
compassion. As a single, Black woman veteran, she embraces
the unique hurdles she faces, viewing them as opportunities for
growth and empowerment.
In her downtime, she wears many hats, including that of a
missionary, spreading hope and positivity wherever she goes.
Weekends are spent paddling, immersing herself in West African
dance and finding solace and joy in nature’s embrace.
Vanessa is committed to equitable principles, ensuring that
everyone’s opinions are valued and heard. Through her
unwavering dedication and inclusive leadership, Vanessa is
paving the way for a more equitable and diverse outdoor sports