One mom whose kids were banned from Valley Swim Club is mad as hell.
A Philadelphia day camp of primarily Hispanic and African-American kids planned to go to the Valley Swim Club once a week. On their first visit, many kids heard other club members make racist comments toward them while they were swimming. After the first week, they were told not to come back. Shockingly, the club president said they changed the "complexion" of the club.
Sharrae Thompson, a mother of 5, was personally affected by the Valley Swim Club incident. Four of her kids go to the day camp that was banished from the club. Here, her reaction.
ML: How did you learn about the alleged incident at the pool?
Sharrae: I have 5 kids, ages 22, 16, 14, and 5-year-old twins. Four of my kids are attending camp this summer. My kids have been going to the camp for the past 5 years. Normally on Mondays, my kids come home with wet towels because they go swimming. On this particular day, I noticed their towels were dry. They told me they didn't go swimming. The twins said I needed to call Ms. Wright (the executive director of the camp) because she'd explain what happened. My older boys, Louis (16) and Dymir (14), sat down and told me. Dymir explained that some people at the pool made racial slurs to him and other kids. He said when he and the other campers went into the pool, all the white people got out. A few white people said to other white people, "Grab your children before they do something to them." They also made comments like, "What are all these black kids doing here?"
ML: What was your reaction?
Sharrae: My mouth dropped. I couldn't close my mouth, I was so upset. At that time, I called Ms. Wright and spoke with her. We had a meeting with her and the other parents at the school and there was outrage amongst all the parents. The pool club refunded our money and said the kids couldn't go back there.
ML: How did you explain this situation to your children?
Sharrae: My 5-year-old twins, Khalif and Khayla, don't understand, and I don't want them to know about it. I don't want to explain it to them because they are young and I don't want them to be focused on their complexion. There are more things to be focused on than the color of their skin. I sat down with Louis and Dymir. They didn't understand why people would say such a thing, and what was wrong with them that they couldn't get in the pool? I explained there are a lot of ignorant people in the world and they shouldn't let them impact their views, and they should accept people for who they are regardless of their skin color.
ML: Where do you go from here?
Sharrae: At this point, I am trying to find another swim club for them to go to. A local college offered to let the kids swim there, and the parents have another meeting with Ms. Wright next week. She's awesome, and she goes all out for her kids at the camp.
ML: What is your message to moms who are reading this?
Sharrae: There are more things in this world that people should be concerned about other than people's complexion. Nobody has the right to treat kids this way. I am hurt that any child has to be exposed to this. These kids are going to forever be affected by this. They will always remember this, and now they are going to feel unwanted and unwelcome by Caucasians. Hopefully, the kids won't grow up to be as ignorant as these people -- I can assure you mine won't, because I don't condone racism at all. I grew up in Philadelphia and never experienced racism, ever. I am so angry about this situation, and I am hurt that my kids and I have to go through this.
What do you think about the incident at Valley Swim Club? Comment below and share your thoughts.