Historically, Black people were excellent swimmers all the way up to the Civil War. However the skillset was seen as a threat to slave masters so Blacks were no longer allowed to swim. Even though Canada did not have a constant segregating system like in the USA, Black folks were not welcome at pools and would be immediately turned down.
Drowning during hot summers has increased over the years and despite our multiple efforts to shine the light on the lack of accessibility to swimming classes (costs, pools, fear), decision-makers don’t see value in investing in making swimming an essential part of Ontario’s curriculum. Afropolitan Canada is investing in providing swimming lessons to Black people to help them have the basic skills in the event of an unexpected fall into deep water.
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