May is National Water Safety Month, where organizations around the country bring awareness to the importance of water safety. Drowning is the #1 leading cause of death among toddlers (CDC). And unfortunately, due to the history of disparities in aquatics, African American kids are 5.5x more likely to drown, and 10x more likely at ages 11-12 (CDC).
Throughout slavery and segregation, black Americans were limited in their access to pools and beaches and very few were able to learn how to swim. Even after integration, the majority fleeted from public pools, resulting in the attendance of these facilities plummeting, and therefore shutting them down. This left little opportunity for black Americans to become confident swimmers or enjoy the experience of a swimming pool.
The disparities in aquatics are a ripple effect, impacting the way our generations today interact with the water. If a child grew up around others who did not learn how to swim, there is a greater chance that they will not learn how to swim and develop a fear of the water.
Passed from generation to generation, an inherited fear of drowning lives in those that never learned. According to the USA Swimming Foundation, if a parent or guardian doesn’t know how to swim, there is only a 13% chance that their child will learn how to swim.
An amazing organization making (literal) waves by providing zero-cost swimming lessons and food security to kids who need it most. They reach inner-cities and low-income communities that don’t have the ability to pay for formal swim lessons or have access to water safety resources and education.
Tankproof was co-founded by recording artists and creatives, THEBROSFRESH (Thurman and Torrence Thomas) in 2011 with the simple desire to serve communities, “creatively”.
Currently, they have served over 2,350 individuals nationwide with multiple sites in Louisiana, as well as in Austin, Texas, and San Francisco, California. This year, we are happy to announce we will be partnering with the Tankproof team at The LINE Hotel LA to provide swim lessons at our pool for underprivileged children in Koreatown and the Greater Los Angeles area.
Swim lessons will take place July 19-23 from 8 am to 10 am with the goal of continuing Tankproof’s mission to raise the next generation of confident swimmers so we can see even more waves of much-needed change.
To sponsor a child’s lesson, visit https://www.tankproof.org/donate and for more information visit https://www.tankproof.org @tankproof
(Photography by Joshua Kissi )