Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Racism is Alive & Kicking (And Apparently Shameless) in Philadelphia

I should be packing but I can't even think. WHAT. THE. F$!#.

Hearing about these kids getting kicked out of that pool makes me want to punch something. Philly needs to f-ing shut Valley Swim Club down.

I feel like my brain is broken. I want to punch something. This needs major coverage NOW.

, #valleyswimclub

RT @harrislacewell: You can email outrage about #racistpool to

@elonjames : #TWiB! "Philly's Vally Swim Club Doesn't Care about Black People" -

RT @cinnamn RT @AllAboutRace: 60 black child daycampers kicked out of Philly pool b/c "they might change complexion of club"

RT @AllAboutRace: Campers have new pool & Arlen Specter investigates discrimination claim. #racistpool #racematters

RT @elonjames RT @karsh: You see this? I'm glad the kids have a place to swim now, but Valley Swim Club is well exposed.

~~Here's the email I just sent to John Duesler at the Valley Swim Club. I wish I could have been more eloquent, but I'm still rattled. I think I made my point, at least. Please send one yourself.

subject: Racism is UNACCEPTABLE

To John Duesler at the Valley Swim Club---
I am shocked and appalled by your despicably racist (and utterly heartless) decision to throw those kids out of the pool and force the daycamp to take a refund. It's completely inexcusable. I hope you realize that your actions and the statement you gave were shamelessly racist. I hope to see national media coverage of this disgusting incident in the near future, and I hope to hear that you've lost your job because of it. I hope Valley Swim Club gets sued for discrimination.

Racism is UNACCEPTABLE. I'm just totally outraged. I hope you learn something from all of this.

From NBC Philadelphia

Dymire Baylor says he overheard a woman ask, "What are all these black kids doing?" when he and his freinds showed up.
Dymire Baylor says he overheard a woman ask, "What are all these black kids doing?" when he and his friends showed up.

Pool Boots Kids Who Might "Change the Complexion"

Campers sent packing after first visit to swim club


Updated 3:01 PM EDT, Wed, Jul 8, 2009

More than 60 campers from Northeast Philadelphia were turned away from a private swim club and left to wonder if their race was the reason.

"I heard this lady, she was like, 'Uh, what are all these black kids doing here?' She's like, 'I'm scared they might do something to my child,'" said camper Dymire Baylor.

The Creative Steps Day Camp paid more than $1900 to The Valley Swim Club. The Valley Swim Club is a private club that advertises open membership. But the campers' first visit to the pool suggested otherwise.

"When the minority children got in the pool all of the Caucasian children immediately exited the pool," Horace Gibson, parent of a day camp child, wrote in an email. "The pool attendants came and told the black children that they did not allow minorities in the club and needed the children to leave immediately."

The next day the club told the camp director that the camp's membership was being suspended and their money would be refunded.

"I said, 'The parents don't want the refund. They want a place for their children to swim,'" camp director Aetha Wright said.

Campers remain unsure why they're no longer welcome.

"They just kicked us out. And we were about to go. Had our swim things and everything," said camper Simer Burwell.

The explanation they got was either dishearteningly honest or poorly worded.

"There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club," John Duesler, President of The Valley Swim Club said in a statement.

While the parents await an apology, the camp is scrambling to find a new place for the kids to beat the summer heat.

UPDATE: But the kids will get to swim, thank goodness:

Campers "Complexion" No Problem for New Pool

U.S. Senator looking into accusations of racism


Updated 10:06 PM EDT, Wed, Jul 8, 2009. NBC Philadelphia

For kids in the summertime, there's nothing better than jumping full-speed into a pool to cool off. [...]

They just wanna swim.

So the staff at Girard College, a private Philadelphia boarding school for children who live in low-income and single parent homes, stepped in and offered their pool.

"We had to help," said Girard College director of Admissions Tamara Leclair. "Every child deserves an incredible summer camp experience."

The school already serves 500 campers of its own, but felt they could squeeze in 65 more – especially since the pool is vacant on the day the Creative Steps had originally planned to swim.

"I'm so excited," camp director Alethea Wright exclaimed. There are still a few logistical nuisances like insurance the organizations have to work out, but it seems the campers will not stay dry for long.

The banning has caused so much controversy that U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) plans to launch an investigation into the discrimination claim.

"The allegations against the swim club as they are reported are extremely disturbing," Specter said in a statement. "I am reaching out to the parties involved to ascertain the facts. Racial discrimination has no place in America today."