Monday, July 13, 2009

Valley Swim Club

If you havent heard racism is still live and well and aimed at youth in this country. No more than weeks ago a group of African American and Latino campers were on a trip to a swimming pool and were turned away from its use, a contractual usage they had in place mind you, because the swimming pool, The Valley Swim Club of Philadelphia, deemed the "There's too many black people at the pool"1. Due to this outrage I have gotten together with the folks at Color of Change, through a mutual friend to share a letter with you by James Rucker.

Dear friends,

Two weeks ago outside Philadelphia, sixty-five children from a summer
camp tried to go swimming at a club their camp had a contract to use.
Evidently, the club didn't know the kids were largely Black.

When the campers entered the pool, White parents took their kids out
of the water, and the swimming club's staff asked the campers to
leave. The next day, the club told the summer camp that their
membership would be canceled and that they would refund their money.
When asked why, the club's leader said the "kids would change the
complexion ... and the atmosphere of the club."

A "Whites only" pool in 2009 should not be tolerated. The club's
actions appear to be a violation of section 1981 of the Civil Rights
Act. Whether or not any laws were violated, a "Whites only" pool
should be something every American condemns.

I've just joined in doing exactly that -- will you
join me, and email your friends and family asking them to do the same?
We're also calling on the Department of Justice to evaluate suing the
facility under federal law. It takes just a moment to do both, here:

Obama is President but that doesn't mean that suddenly all is fine
when it comes to race in America. This is a vivid reminder of what we
know still lies beneath the surface.

We all know stories like this one -- similar incidents play out
quietly every day in different communities across the country. The
difference in this case is that folks got caught and there was a
contract in place that makes for a potentially illegal act.

Standing up now isn't just about making things right for these kids in
Philadelphia or bringing consequences to this swim club (called the
Valley Swim Club). It's about creating a climate of accountability
everywhere. If we can publicly shame the Valley Swim Club and hold them
accountable for this incident, it will make others think twice before
engaging in this kind of discrimination.

Please join me in condemning the Valley Swim Club's blatant discrimination
and calling on the Justice Department to investigate whether they
violated civil rights laws. And please ask your friends and family to
do the same.

"60 Black Kids Booted from Philly Pool For Being Black -- Speak Out,"
Jill Tubman at Jack and Jill Politics, 07-08-09

"Valley Swim Club: Day Two," Adam B at Daily Kos, 07-08-09

"Section 1981 Summary," Employment Law Information Network"

So PLEASE take the time to share this letter and make your voice apart of change. Change is going to come, everyday we try.


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