THE GREENSBORO TIMES 13
Simone Manuel > from page 2 Rather than integrate pools, rather than open up spaces of leisure and
pleasure to African Americans (and Latinos, Asian Americans and Native Americans), white America closed public pools throughout America, pro- tecting a separate and unequal future that continues today. The result: As of 2010, 7 out 10 black children could not swim. Black children are three times more likely to drown than their peers. Manuel’s victory was not just a triumph over this violent history and
the persistent inequalities that are both ignored and normalized with racist arguments about a lack of black buoyancy. It is a victory for those who engaged in sit-ins, those who have been denied access to pools, those who found the police called when they attended pool parties, and those who fought and persevered within competitive swimming. It is a victory for those competitive black swimmers who were told
that they didn’t have it, who were doubted, denied access to specialized coaches, and told their dreams and passions were unrealistic. It is a victory for Maritza Correia McClendon, who was the first Af-
rican-American woman to make an Olympic swim team, earning a silver medal as part of the 400-meter relay team. It is for Lia Neal and the next generation of black swimmers. It is a victory for the many black girls who have endured being ste-
reotyped and ridiculed, who have been mocked and criticized for being too concerned with their hair—factors such as pool access, finances and white supremacist beauty standards erased in order to perpetuate racist and dishonest narratives. It is a victory for an Ohio girl, who in 2010 was told that the chemi-
cals she used in her hair made the pool cloudy. When she arrived to swim during Memorial Day, she was confronted with a sign emblazoned with the words, “Public Swimming Pool, White Only” hanging from duplex’s pool gate.
It is a victory for the 60 kids in Northeast Philadelphia who in 2009 were kicked out of the Valley Swim Club because they “would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club.” It is a victory for Takeitha Warner, 13, JaMarcus Warner, 14, JaTavi-
ous Warner, 17, Litrelle Stewart, 18, LaDarius Stewart, 17, and Latevin Stewart, 15, who in 2010 drowned in Louisiana’s Red River. It is a vic- tory for countless more African-American youths who drown, and their families, who have been casualties of American racism. It is a victory for those unnamed children whose lives will be saved, finding inspiration and opportunity to jump into the pool in light of Manuel’s victory. It is a triumph for black youths who in 2015 were told to “return to Section 8 housing” after they tried to attend a pool party in a McKinney, Texas. It is a victory for Dajerria Becton, who was tackled and thrown to the ground by Police Officer Eric Casebolt for merely trying to swim. It is a gold medal shared by those civil rights activists who risked
their lives during swim-ins at pools and beaches throughout the 1960s. In the 1960s, Robert Hayling, a leader in the St. Augustine, Fla., civil rights movement, along with members of the NAACP Youth Council, engaged in wade-ins and swim-ins to protest white-only pools and beaches. Among the protesters were J.T. Johnson, who is black, and Al Lingo, who was white, both of whom jumped into the whites-only Monson Motor Lodge swimming pool in 1964. James Brock, its owner, responded by dumping acid into the pool, and the police responded by arresting the protesters. Thursday night was a victory for them and countless more civil rights
activists, who demanded the freedom to swim, who fought for the freedom in swimming.
Simone Manuel’s victory is for all black parents who taught their kids to swim, who spent countless hours and thousands of dollars amid a culture of stare and glares, exclusion and microaggressions. Mark Antho- ny Neal wrote about these sacrifices in The Undefeated: “Even as middle- class parents, my wife and I had to re-evaluate our own priorities because of both the financial and social costs of the sport.” It is a victory for so many black female athletes whose contributions
in the sporting arena are merely a footnote in some history books. Simone Manuel, like members of the U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team, like Wyomia Tyus and Serena Williams, is not only dominating on the playing field but also saying, “Black lives matter” outside the arena. It is a victory not only over the past and the persistence of racial in-
equality inside America’s pools, but also for the future of black girls and boys, for an entire community. It is a victory for black joy.
But at the heart of this story is just a girl. A girl with intense drive
and vision. A girl who has excelled when the world told her she couldn’t and told her she shouldn’t. A girl who, even in her shining moment, put her people on her back—as so many black women and girls have done before her and will do after her. So, while Manuel’s historic win carries weight, it is our victory be- cause it is her victory.
It is a victory for freedom. Voter ID > from page 1
changes were enacted after Republicans took control of state government in 2011 for the first time in a century.
The U.S. Justice Department, state NAACP, League of Women Vot- ers and others sued the state, saying the restrictions violated the federal Voting Rights Act and the Constitution.
“This is a strong rebuke to what the North Carolina General Assem-
bly did in 2013. It’s a powerful precedent that ... federal courts will protect voting rights of voters of color,” said Allison Riggs, who served as the League of Women Voters’ lead lawyer on the case.
The Rev. William Barber, president of the state chapter of the
NAACP, said in an interview that the ruling was a powerful victory for civil rights and for democracy.
“It is a vindication of our constitutional and moral critique and chal- lenge to the constitutional extremism of our government,” he said.
Messages seeking comment weren’t immediately returned by the state’s Republican governor or legislative leaders.
An attorney representing the state had argued before the appeals court last month that the law’s authors were aiming to prevent voter fraud and increase public confidence in elections.
The voter ID mandate, which took effect with this year’s March pri-
mary, required voters to show one of six qualifying IDs, although those with “reasonable impediments” can fill out a form and cast a provisional ballot.
The laws approved by the General Assembly and signed by Republi-
can Gov. Pat McCrory also reduced early voting from 17 to 10 days, elimi- nated same-day registration during early voting and barred the counting of Election Day ballots cast in the wrong precinct.
Plaintiffs had argued the changes discourage voting by black and Hispanic residents, who use early voting or same-day registration more than white voters and are more likely to lack photo ID.
The appeals court reverses a ruling by U.S. District Judge Thomas
Schroeder, who determined in April that the plaintiffs failed to prove that the laws made it harder for minority voters to cast ballots.
The federal appeals panel disagreed with Schroeder in a sharply
worded opinion. “We recognize that elections have consequences, but winning an
election does not empower anyone in any party to engage in purposeful ra- cial discrimination,” the panel said. “When a legislature dominated by one party has dismantled barriers to African American access to the franchise, even if done to gain votes, ‘politics as usual’ does not allow a legislature dominated by the other party to re-erect those barriers.”
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