June 14, 2020
Dear USA Swimming members,
It is difficult to find the right words to express our grief, but we will try because it matters to our Black athletes, it matters to our Black members, and it matters to us. We hear you. We see you.
We have heard firsthand from our
Black National Team athletes and our members within the Black
community, and we are incredibly thankful to them for taking the
time to participate in open dialogue and to join us in creating
change. We are listening, and we want to help.
To our entire USA Swimming membership, partners, and volunteers, we ask that you stand unified with us as we work to uplift and to amplify voices of change. We all must make a difference.
We would be naïve to think that swimming is not a microcosm of our society. Due to a number of historical events, including the segregation of pools and limitation of Black swimmers, swimming, like society, fostered systemic racism. While swimming has come a long way, we acknowledge that our progress has been much too slow. There is still much work to be done and it will take continued awareness, advocacy, and hard work in all our communities.
We stand firmly against social injustice and condemn racism and discrimination of any kind. We reaffirm our commitment to foster inclusion and to join those who work toward meaningful change. We will continue to use our platforms to educate and to inform. We will support our Black staff members, our Black athletes, our Black coaches, our Black volunteers, and our Black family members. We will support the Black community because Black Lives Matter. These are important words, but it is our actions that count.
Outlined below are short term steps we will take to expand upon current efforts and develop an improved path forward:
- Further organizational education: acknowledging that these conversations may be uncomfortable, but change will only occur when these conversations are being held in the right way, not the most comfortable way.
- Enlisting facilitators to support our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) team in establishing broader outreach to our clubs and more localized engagement efforts.
- Commitment to openly educate and openly speak about DEI topics with membership, including athletes, coaches, volunteers, and partners, with more frequent distribution of informational resources across all USA Swimming channels.
- New and continued partnerships with organizations that support DEI efforts such as Diversity in Aquatics, RISE, the Black History Invitational and the National Black Heritage Championship swim meets and other NGB’s, to further integrate DEI into our sport’s culture.
We will continue our financial
investment to support ongoing DEI programs such as the Community Swim Team Program, Learn-to-Swim program, Diversity Coach Mentorship and Diverse Athlete Support
and look at other long-term initiatives to support and invest in.
We commit to finding impactful ways to grow and increase our Black
To access current resources, please visit: www.usaswimming.org/DEIResources.
If you have suggestions or want to get involved with our DEI efforts, contact us at [email protected]. If you would like to connect with one of USA Swimming’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team members, or want to share your thoughts and comments, please contact MJ Truex at [email protected].
We commit to be a part of the solution and to help make a difference.
Bob Vincent Dr. Cecil Gordon Tim Hinchey III
USA Swimming USA Swimming Foundation USA Swimming President & CEO
Board President Board Chair