Black People Will Swim mission is plain and simple: smashing the stereotypes that Black people don’t swim. Through this mission, we aim to teach 2,020 black people and people of color how to swim by December 2020. Yes, you read that right.
While Corona may have slowed down our debut, it isn’t stopping our show!
It is a well-known stereotype in the Black community that Black people don’t or simply can’t swim. This ideology was arguably created in large part to America’s racial dynamics and complex history with African-Americans. From slavery, racism, and segregation via the Jim Crow Laws not allowing Black people swimming in predominately Caucasian pools, beaches, and country clubs.
These laws ordered business owners and public institutions to keep their Black and Caucasian clientele separate. While learning how to swim was passed down from generations in Caucasian communities, African-Americans were denied access, which resulted in swimming not being a popular activity in the Black community.
Also, the numbers don’t lie. See the stats below:
Remember our goal of teaching 2,020? In addition to swim lessons, we plan on achieving this with our acronym F.A.C.E: Fun, Awareness, Community, and Education. We’re encouraging our community to FACE their fears.
Why a goal of 2,020?
Why not? The impact of teaching 2,020 will normalize swimming in Black communities which is what we want!
Where will the money go?
We’re all about transparency and want to make sure you are not only informed on why you should donate, but where the money will go.
- Pool Facilities
Pool rental fees range from $500 to $2,500 a day! Through this funding, we can rent a pool facility without drowning in debt.
- Dream Team
We can hire, certify, and pay people of color to keep BPWS running like a smooth sailing ship.
- Ripple Effect
From bathing suits, swim caps to athleisure wear, we not only want to spread the message of #smashingstereotypes, but make sure you’re laced in the best gear. We want to make sure we're creating a lasting effect in our community.
- Pay It Forward
We want to provide scholarships to student-athletes, locally and abroad, who excel in the pool and in the classroom.
Hey, #SwimFam! my name is Paulana (rhymes with Moana) and I am the founder of BPWS. I am a Haitian-American (Sak pasé!), multimedia journalist, a certified swim instructor, and lifeguard with 10 years of experience. BPWS was birthed when I was taking an instructor certification course when realizing I was 1 of 2 Black instructors in a class of 8. This put into perspective that there are not enough Black people learning how to swim, but Black instructors sharing this life skill to our community!
As a multimedia journalist, my focus is telling compelling stories of women in male-dominating industries. I've written for Forbes, ESSENCE, Fast Company, and Shondaland interviewing celebrities like Queen Latifah, Lala Anthony, Venus Williams, WNBA players, and more.
Meet Our Team
And, of course, Paulana does NOT do it alone! Meet the AMAZING and creative team that makes BPWS run like a smooth sailing ship!
Phylicia Morgan — Creative Director
Courtney Garrett — Social Media Strategist
Tequilla White — Publicist
Lizie Mensah — Partnerships Fellow
Andrea Masenda — Video editor
Thank you so much for supporting this movement! Let's get ready to dive right in!