Minneapolis sailing school works to get more people of color on the water at Bde Maka Ska

Minneapolis is known as the City Of Lakes, but not everyone has the opportunity to take full advantage of those natural resources.

For the last four years, Adi Narayan has been sailing at Bde Maka Ska with the Minneapolis Sailing Center, but when he is out on the water, he rarely sees anyone who looks like him.

"I'm the only person of color here, I think. In the entire regatta league, there's like two people," said the 7th grader at St Paul Academy.

The center started more than 40 years ago to make sailing accessible to everyone by offering youth camps, adult classes and a boat sharing program.

But after the murder of George Floyd, who went sailing with one of their members the summer before his death, the sailing school charted a course for more equity and inclusion on the jewel of the city's chain of lakes.

"The biggest barriers to access are the cost and the way yacht clubs were organized in the beginning around whole white, rich, affluent thing," said Mpls Sailing Center program manager Collin Mueller.

Now the center reaches out to nonprofits that work with communities of color to offer sailing opportunities, holds Free Sailing Sundays where anyone can get a 1/2 hour sail boat ride at no charge and offers scholarships and discounts on membership for anyone who needs one.

"We want the lake to reflect our entire community," said Mueller.

Narayan enjoys the freedom of riding with the wind and being close to nature and he hopes to continue setting sail for the rest of his life.

"This is my first year in high school racing and I feel it's really fun and I'm going to keep doing it," said Narayan.

Free Sailing Sundays are the third Sunday of the month during the summer.

The first one of the season will be June 18.