Swimming Pools

swimming pool

On a bright, hot, day many years ago, my friend, Marie, her cousins, Jonas and Juna, our friend, Tonya, my baby sister, Trisha and I went to a friend of my mom’s condo. The condo was in a remodeled school and had a pool.  The pool was the reason for our visit.  I was an insecure and chubby 16 year old.  There was no way that I was going to the public pool across from the post office. There was no way that I was going to get in a bathing suit in public. What if someone made fun of me? What if someone hurt my feelings?  Even going to this private pool I didn’t have the bravery to put on a bathing suit.  I got in the pool in the same clothes that I walked over there in, a cute romper.  I think that we were in the pool for for about an hour. We just wanted to cool off, really and we were bored. This was before any of us was old enough to have a summer job.  As we left the pool, we were confronted by the building’s security guard. He said that he was on his way to confront us about all the noise that we were keeping in the pool and he claimed that several of the residents had complained. I remember how we all felt outraged. Tonya said that the security guard only confronted us because we were black. My mother’s friend was outraged that a security guard had harassed her guests.

I haven’t thought about this incidence in years, until I saw a video pop up in my timeline this morning. In this video, I saw teenaged black children being manhandled by police officers and one white bystander. Their crime? One of them wanted to swim in a pool in Ohio without a proper swimsuit. The child in question was 12 years old. Her mom was called. Her mother arrived with a proper swimsuit only to find the police were there and forcibly removing the children. What the hell is going on? Why were the police involved? What possible justification could police have for putting their hands on children?  These children were not violent. They were not breaking any laws.  They just wanted to go for a swim in a public pool. The police are justifying their behavior. They believe that they were justified in pepper spraying a woman because she didn’t provide them with her ID. They believe that they were justified in cracking one child’s ribs and putting another child in a chokehold.  I truly don’t understand what is going on in this country, but I thank God for camera phones and Twitter and Tumblr and Facebook.  The world needs to know what is going on here in the US.

Thanks for Reading,

Karen

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