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Celebrating Black success stories past - Wearing History on Your Sleeve

Wearing History on Your Sleeve

Celebrating Black success stories past, present and future with a special edition kit for the riders at L39ION of Los Angeles.

05 August 2022

At Rapha, we are proud to support all of our teams, none more so than L39ION of Los Angeles. Since its inception, L39ION has transformed US cycling through their unparalleled focus on fan experiences and grassroots development.

For everyone on the team, Tulsa is an important race, held in an even more important place. It’s not just three days of racing that bring together the best racers in the business, it’s about Tulsa’s history – both good and bad. For many years, Tulsa’s Greenwood neighbourhood was a Black success story, a thriving community of possibilities and prosperity built by Black people for Black people.

The district was so vibrant that Greenwood Avenue came to be known as Black Wall Street. But in May 1921, all that changed. Hundreds of Greenwood residents were brutally killed, their homes and businesses wiped out by a heavily armed white mob of looters and arsonists. What had taken decades to build had been all but wiped out in just 24 hours.

Yet despite the devastation, the spirit of Greenwood survived and it lives on today thanks in no small part to entrepreneurs like Trey Thaxton. To highlight the lasting legacy of Black Wall Street, Trey created Greenwood Ave., a clothing line that celebrates the past and inspires the future of Black entrepreneurship in Tulsa, and around the world.

As the only black-owned professional cycling team today, L39ION knows all about the importance of ownership and opportunity. Coming together to recognise Tulsa’s history, and rebuild its future for black-owned business, the team’s special kit features the Greenwood Ave. label to mark the collaboration.

And to secure future opportunities for Tulsa’s next generation of cyclists, we are proud to pledge the first $43,000 in kit sales to grassroots organisation CYCLE Kids. A former Rapha Foundation grantee, CYCLE Kids runs a programme that pioneers bicycle education in schools to help children gain confidence, boost wellbeing and build self-esteem through cycling.

Focusing on children in underrepresented and vulnerable communities, they work to ensure children’s basic right to a physically and emotionally healthy start in life. The funds from this collection will go toward their Tulsa programme, covering costs for its first two years.


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