About 70% of Black Americans have low or no swimming ability, putting them at risk any time they come into contact with water.
Black children are FIVE TIMES more likely to drown than white children! Hundreds of Black children drown EVERY year. The reasons for this are complex.
For decades, city pools and beaches were legally off-limits to Black people, and only wealthy suburban families could afford backyard pools.
Even when there were pools in cities opened to us, they were often shallow - meaning true swimming skills couldn’t be learned. As a result, swimming has often been seen as a “white” thing.
Because of this history, many parents don’t know how to swim - and, because of fear of drowning, don’t teach their kids. Only 18% of Black youth with non-swimming parents learn to swim - meaning the generational cycle continues. But this fear makes their children MORE likely to drown!
There are other reasons - many Black women who spent hundreds of dollars on their hair don’t want to get it wet, for example. A lack of representation in swimming sports, as well as body shame when wearing swimsuits, also play a factor.
But we HAVE to reverse this trend. Swim lessons reduce drowning risk by 88%! To protect our children - and safely gain access to the pools, water parks, and beaches we want to visit - ending this cycle is ESSENTIAL.