Thursday, July 9, 2009

Just In Case You Forgot That Racism Exists...

No need for me to even say much on this one. It speaks for itself. I'll just let this article from the Philadelphia NBC News do the talking:

More than 60 campers from Northeast Philadelphia were turned away from a private swim club and left to wonder if their race was the reason.
"I heard this lady, she was like, 'Uh, what are all these black kids doing here?' She's like, 'I'm scared they might do something to my child,'" said camper Dymire Baylor.
The Creative Steps Day Camp paid more than $1900 to The Valley Swim Club. The Valley Swim Club is a private club that advertises open membership. But the campers' first visit to the pool suggested otherwise.

"When the minority children got in the pool all of the Caucasian children immediately exited the pool," Horace Gibson, parent of a day camp child, wrote in an email. "The pool attendants came and told the black children that they did not allow minorities in the club and needed the children to leave immediately."

The next day the club told the camp director that the camp's membership was being suspended and their money would be refunded.

"I said, 'The parents don't want the refund. They want a place for their children to swim,'" camp director Aetha Wright said.

Campers remain unsure why they're no longer welcome.

"They just kicked us out. And we were about to go. Had our swim things and everything," said camper Simer Burwell.

The explanation they got was either dishearteningly honest or poorly worded.

"There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club," John Duesler, President of The Valley Swim Club said in a statement.
While the parents await an apology, the camp is scrambling to find a new place for the kids to beat the summer heat.

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Special Urban Politico Note:
When I volunteered for the Obama Campaign along with GodSon I was stationed in Northeast Philly, which is a different animal from the rest of Philadelphia in that it was the only part of Philly that went overwhelmingly for Hillary during the Primary as opposed to Obama like the rest of the city. We had some pretty interesting conversations with the people there to say the least. In the end, we won the district, but it was a challenge.
To that end, please take a moment to shoot an email and contact the representatives of Northeast Philly to urge them to take action against the Valley Swim Club.
The United States Congresswoman representing Northeast Philly is Allyson Schwartz (D):

Philadelphia Office
7219 Frankford Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19135
Washington Office
330 Cannon Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
The United States Senators representing Pennsylvania are Arlen Spector (D) and Robert Casey, Jr. (D):
Arlen Spector
711 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Robert Casey, Jr.
392 Russel SenateOffice Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Pennsylvania State Senators representing Northeast Philly are Michael J. Stack, III, (D), Shirley Kitchen (D), and Christine Tartaglione (D):
Michael J. Stack, III
Philadelphia, PA 19154-1927
phone--(215) 281-2539
Shirley Kitcken
1701 West Lehigh Avenue, Suit 104
Philadelphia, PA 19132
phone--(215) 227-6161
Christine Tartaglione
1061 Bridge Street
Philadelphia, PA 19124
phone--(215) 533-0440

The Pennsylvania State House of Representatives representing Northeast Philly are Dennis O'Brien (R), John Perzel (R), and Mark Cohen (D):
Dennis O'Brien
9811 Academy Road, Lower Level
Philadelphia, PA 19114-1715
Tel: 215-632-5150
Fax: 215-281-2094

Hon. John M. Perzel
7518 Frankford Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19136
(215) 331-2600
Fax: (215) 708-3135
Hon. Mark B. Cohen
6001 North 5th Street
Second Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19120
(215) 924-0895
Fax: (215) 924-8480
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