According to Marvin Dunn, historian, “in the whole scope of desegregation, the thing that white people themselves resisted, second only to intermarriage, was swimming with Black people.”(https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/black-family-kicked-out-historically-black-pool-highlighting-lasting-impact-n1235532)
Today, African American children ages 5-19 are 5.5 times more likely to drown in a swimming pool than white children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A 2017 survey by the University of Memphis and the USA Swimming Foundation found that Black children and their parents are three times more fearful of drowning than white children and their parents.
Swim Strong has been working to combat these disparities for years. The fact that people still do not understand the heavy social justice component of access to pools and swimming lessons for all, speaks to the damage that has been done and a history that has been quietly forgotten.
We have developed an online Social Justice package which includes two main components:
A Film Called Blacks Can’t Swim: We have developed a partnership with British black hip hop artist, Ed Accura, who created the mini documentary to address the stereotypical reasons that communities of color don’t embrace swimming. The goal is to change those perceptions and make water safety and swimming skills a priority in minority communities.
Our family programming, “KNOW BEFORE YOU GO™, Water Safety For All” will also include resources for adults who might wish to take a deeper dive in to the topics as well as special resources for parents to explain these concepts to children ages 3 through 7 or adapt it for those with special needs. The topics addressed are:
- Definition of Drowning/Drowning Statistics
- General Water Safety tips
- Understand the nature and environment of these different bodies of water: Pools, Lakes, Ponds, Rivers and Oceans
- Dangers of RIP currents…what causes them; how to identify them and how to navigate safely out of them
- Safety at Water Parks and while Boating.
- Seasonal dangers of Tropical Storms, Hurricanes, Ice and Flooding