Louisiana has had some of the worst tragedies and/or fatalities from our greatest natural resource…water. In a recent drowning in the the Red River in Shreveport, six young people died trying to rescue one from the waterway. None of the teenagers could swim. According to the BBC, JaTavious Warner, 17, Takeitha Warner, 13, JaMarcus Warner, 14, Litrelle Stewart, 18, Latevin Stewart, 15, and LaDarius Stewart, 17, all died trying to save him and each other.
The incident led to a study of African Americans and their rate of swim. We are not swimming or learning how to swim. The mother of the Warner children, Maude Warner, could not swim either. The report said that we are not swimming, especially if our parents do not know how to swim. A lot of the findings are tracked back to segregation and public pools keeping blacks out. Recreation didn’t include swimming for the black community.
A recent study sponsored by USA Swimming showed that a little under 70% of African-American children surveyed said they had “no or low ability to swim.” Another 12 percent said they taught themselves. Cullen Jones, an olympic gold medalist has been a part of a major campaign, also through USA Swimming, to get young minorities swimming called Make A Splash with Cullen Jones.
He was quoted by the BBC saying, “I would love to make it a rule like they have in the UK…It isn’t a requirement, it isn’t a priority in the US.”
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