My Reaction to an Incident at The Valley Swim Club

Written by: Lance Goodwin, Motivation High School (OU 2009)

On our sixth day on the trip we were leaving New York City, heading toward Washington D.C. During a pit stop on the way, we were updated on some of the current events that were happening pertaining to racial issues.

There were some camp kids that were looking for a place to swim. Most of the pools in Philadelphia are not open anymore, so to keep the children cool the camp director set up a contract for the children to be able to swim at a country club in a suburban area right outside of Philadelphia. When the kids arrived there and got in the pool, the little kids that were in the pool already got out because the majority of the camp kids were African American or Latino. The director of the camp and some of the staff overheard heard the people that were already at the country club complaining to the owner about the camp kids. The owner says “Oh I’ll take care of it; they will not be here long”. He got rid of the contract and gave the camp their money back. The club gave the camp their money back and thought that it was all ok. But it was really deeper than just a swimming pool. Those people were racist.

Words cannot explain the way I feel about this entire situation. Is this the American dream? To be separated and hating each other? Situations like this are the reason Operation Understanding exists. For the Black and Hispanic children that may have been traumatized by the pool situation, we can show them that eight African American students and eight Jewish students can become best friends. We can prove to them that not all white people are evil and mean. We can relate to them because all 16 of us encountered some type of racial tension. We can be examples to let them know that although there are people in this world who hate because of the color of skin, we cannot let that stop our progress towards success.

We shall overcome. We have overcome. We are over comers.


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