USA Swimming Releases New Letter; Pledges to “Stand United” on Race Issues

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Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

In a pair of weeks where most every sporting league, team and athletic body has released some response to the recent surge of protests against racial injustice in America, USA Swimming issued a letter Friday, its second offering on the subject.

The USA Swimming letter reflected a dialogue with black athletes and members of its membership and pledged that the governing body and its partners should “and unified with us as we work to uplift and to amplify voices of change.” It also acknowledges its slowness to respond and that “swimming, like society, fostered systemic racism.”

From the statement:

We stand firmly against social injustice and condemn racism and discrimination of any kind. We reaffirm our commitment to foster inclusion and to join those who work toward meaningful change. We will continue to use our platforms to educate and to inform. We will support our Black staff members, our Black athletes, our Black coaches, our Black volunteers, and our Black family members. We will support the Black community because Black Lives Matter. These are important words, but it is our actions that count.

 

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USA Swimming has tried to make headway on diversity, including via its Zone Diversity Camps, which seek to offer opportunities for underrepresented groups. Friday’s statement goes considerably further than its June 1 statement, in the immediate aftermath of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, which wasn’t well-received. According to USA Swimming’s demographic study, its membership is overwhelmingly white.

USA Swimming outlines four steps it will take in the short term: “further(ing) organizational education” on diversity matter; expanding the outreach of its existing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiative; more openly speaking about diversity topics with members and partners; continuing existing and exploring new partnership with diversity partners such as, “Diversity in Aquatics, RISE, the Black History Invitational and the National Black Heritage Championship swim meets and other NGB’s”.

The release also highlights existing diversity programs, such as the Community Swim Team Program, Learn-to-Swim and Diversity Coach Mentorship and Diverse Athlete Support.

Read the full USA Swimming letter here.

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