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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old Jul 10th, 2009, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
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Camp: Private Pa. pool turned away minority kids

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Camp: Private Pa. pool turned away minority kids

By RON TODT 40 minutes ago

HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pa. (AP) Members and officials of a private swimming pool in a predominantly white Philadelphia suburb reacted to a visiting group of minority children by asking them not to return and pulling other kids out of the water, a day camp director said, and the state is investigating.

The Creative Steps camp in northeast Philadelphia had contracted for the 65 children at the day camp to go each Monday afternoon to The Valley Club in Huntingdon Valley, camp director Alethea Wright said Thursday. But shortly after they arrived June 29, she said, some black and Hispanic children reported hearing racial comments.

"A couple of the children ran down saying, 'Miss Wright, Miss Wright, they're up there saying, "What are those black kids doing here?"'" she said.

The gated club is on a leafy hillside in a village that straddles two townships with overwhelmingly white populations. It says it has a diverse, multiethnic membership.

Wright said she went to talk to a group of members at the top of the hill and heard one woman say she would see to it that the group, made of up of children in kindergarten through seventh grade, did not return.

"Some of the members began pulling their children out of the pool and were standing around with their arms folded," Wright said. "Only three members left their children in the pool with us."

Several days later, the club refunded the camp's $1,950 without explanation, said Wright, who added that some parents are "weighing their options" on legal action.

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission will immediately investigate, chairman Stephen A. Glassman said Thursday.

"Allegedly, this group was denied the use of a pool based on their race," Glassman said. "If the allegations prove to be true, this is illegal discrimination."

The investigation was requested by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., issued a statement calling the allegations "extremely disturbing" and said he was looking into the matter.

The United States' highest-profile black swimmer, Olympic gold medalist Cullen Jones, said "hearing about what's happened to these 65 kids is both disturbing and appalling."

Chuck Wielgus, executive director of USA Swimming, the governing body for the U.S. swim team, was stunned at the accusations.

"This is the sort of thing you'd hear about in 1966, during the height of the civil rights movement, not in 2009, and not in the City of Brotherly Love, of all places," he said.

Club president John Duesler told Philadelphia television station WTXF that several club members complained because the children "fundamentally changed the atmosphere" at the pool but that the complaints didn't involve race.

In a statement released on its Web site Thursday afternoon, the club called the allegations of racial discrimination "completely untrue" and claimed overcrowding from more than one outside camp was the problem.

"We had originally agreed to invite the camps to use our facility, knowing full well that the children from the camps were from multiethnic backgrounds," it said. "Unfortunately, we quickly learned that we underestimated the capacity of our facilities and realized that we could not accommodate the number of children from these camps."

The club said it "deplores discrimination."

"Whatever comments may or may not have been made by an individual member is an opinion not shared by The Valley Club Board," it said.

Amy Goldman said she's been a member of the club for two years. She said the pool wasn't particularly crowded and the children from Creative Steps were "well behaved and respectful."

She said there had been black members at the club in the past, though she couldn't remember seeing any this year.

The club appeared closed Thursday afternoon, and the guard station at the entrance was unattended.

About two dozen protesters, most of them white, held signs in front of the club's locked gates and chanted slogans including, "Jim Crow swims here!"

Spencer Lewis, from Conshohocken, showed up with some young nieces and nephews and said he believes the club owes the children an apology.

"I don't believe everyone here has racist thoughts, but what was said was insulting and offensive," said Lewis, who's black.

Wright rejected the overcrowding explanation, saying the club covers 10 acres with a "nice-sized" pool and a separate pool for younger children. The board, she said, knew that her group included 65 children, and none of them had misbehaved.

"We were not welcome, once the members saw who we were," she said.

Wright said that the children were upset and that she was looking for a psychologist to speak to them next week. Some children have asked her whether they are "too dark" to swim in the pool, she said.

Day camp member Araceli Carvalho, 9, said she was upset when told she wouldn't be allowed to return.

"I said, 'That's not right,'" she said.

But when asked if she wants to return now, she said, "I don't want to swim here anymore."

Wright said Girard College has offered to host the children for the summer.

AP Sports Writer Cliff Brunt in Indianapolis contributed to this report.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old Jul 10th, 2009, 12:56 AM
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Re: Camp: Private Pa. pool turned away minority kids

Ugh. At this day and age.

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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old Jul 10th, 2009, 01:23 AM
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Re: Camp: Private Pa. pool turned away minority kids

That's disgusting. I could see if the kids were hitting people and spitting, but then race wouldn't have been brought up as an issue. And there's a witness who says they were well-behaved.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old Jul 10th, 2009, 01:26 AM
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Re: Camp: Private Pa. pool turned away minority kids

At first I was thinking that I would be a little pissed too if I paid country club membership and 70 fuckin' kids came cavorting around me. You may as well be swimming at a public pool for free. The CNN article I read doesn't mention that they have a seperate pool for kids, and lord knows kids aren't very uptight about who (or what ) they're swimming with. So, if that's the case the owner's "overcrowding" argument doesn't really hold up very well.

In any case, I'm glad to hear that the children who were hearing racial comments directed towards them, especially the ones who were hearing it from adults, didn't take it lying down and spoke to their coordinator about it.
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old Jul 10th, 2009, 01:31 AM
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Re: Camp: Private Pa. pool turned away minority kids

I saw this on CNN a couple of hours ago, they interviewed one of the kids who overheard a bunch of white adults (parents?) making comments about how they were worried the black kids might steal their belongings. Poor boy was crying, really very sad to hear about such callous and ignorant behaviour...

"Religion has actually convinced people that there is an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. Any if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever 'til the end of time!

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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old Jul 10th, 2009, 01:48 AM
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Re: Camp: Private Pa. pool turned away minority kids

LOL @ the some club members claiming that the minority children "fundamentally changed the atmosphere." How 1950s. Action needs to be taken immediately.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old Jul 10th, 2009, 02:18 AM
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Re: Camp: Private Pa. pool turned away minority kids

Post-racial America?!?!
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old Jul 10th, 2009, 02:20 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Camp: Private Pa. pool turned away minority kids

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Originally Posted by Randy H View Post
I saw this on CNN a couple of hours ago, they interviewed one of the kids who overheard a bunch of white adults (parents?) making comments about how they were worried the black kids might steal their belongings. Poor boy was crying, really very sad to hear about such callous and ignorant behaviour...
That's so sad and trust me that kid won't forget this. He'll go on but trust me, he won't forget it.

Waiting for someone to come in here talking about the liberal media playing the race card.

Before you speak to me about your religion, first show it to me in how you treat other people; before you tell me how much you love your God, show me in how much you love all His children; before you preach to me of your passion for your faith, teach me about it through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I'm not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give.

Cory Booker
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old Jul 10th, 2009, 02:24 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Camp: Private Pa. pool turned away minority kids

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Originally Posted by Pheobo View Post
At first I was thinking that I would be a little pissed too if I paid country club membership and 70 fuckin' kids came cavorting around me. You may as well be swimming at a public pool for free. The CNN article I read doesn't mention that they have a seperate pool for kids, and lord knows kids aren't very uptight about who (or what ) they're swimming with. So, if that's the case the owner's "overcrowding" argument doesn't really hold up very well.

In any case, I'm glad to hear that the children who were hearing racial comments directed towards them, especially the ones who were hearing it from adults, didn't take it lying down and spoke to their coordinator about it.
Happy you changed your mind but separate pool or not, the kids weren't freeloading and sneaking in the pool. They paid to use the pool plus the white parents pulled there kids out of the pool as though they were going to catch blackness disease or something. (damn ridiculous)

Before you speak to me about your religion, first show it to me in how you treat other people; before you tell me how much you love your God, show me in how much you love all His children; before you preach to me of your passion for your faith, teach me about it through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I'm not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give.

Cory Booker
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old Jul 10th, 2009, 02:38 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Camp: Private Pa. pool turned away minority kids

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy H View Post
I saw this on CNN a couple of hours ago, they interviewed one of the kids who overheard a bunch of white adults (parents?) making comments about how they were worried the black kids might steal their belongings. Poor boy was crying, really very sad to hear about such callous and ignorant behaviour...
Here's the link/

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540...29557#31802435

Before you speak to me about your religion, first show it to me in how you treat other people; before you tell me how much you love your God, show me in how much you love all His children; before you preach to me of your passion for your faith, teach me about it through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I'm not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give.

Cory Booker
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old Jul 10th, 2009, 02:45 AM
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Re: Camp: Private Pa. pool turned away minority kids

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Originally Posted by mykarma View Post
That's so sad and trust me that kid won't forget this. He'll go on but trust me, he won't forget it.

Waiting for someone to come in here talking about the liberal media playing the race card.
You're absolutely right, that little boy will never forget that day and will carry that for the rest of his life.

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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old Jul 10th, 2009, 02:48 AM
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Re: Camp: Private Pa. pool turned away minority kids

disgusting. i bet most of those parents would have a shit fit if someone told their child no yet they have the gall to say no to someone else's kids based on the color of their skin.

And here you are, a black unicorn.
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old Jul 10th, 2009, 02:59 AM
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Re: Camp: Private Pa. pool turned away minority kids

"Since my daughter is only half Jewish, can she go in up to her knees?" - Groucho Marx, at a restricted swimming pool.

"When we are young we generally estimate an opinion by the size of the person that holds it, but later we find that is an uncertain rule, for we realize that there are times when a hornet's opinion disturbs us more than an emperor's" - Mark Twain

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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old Jul 10th, 2009, 03:58 AM
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Re: Camp: Private Pa. pool turned away minority kids

all i can do is laugh. i'm sorry, it's just so crazy but i can't say i'm surprised, and not because it's philadelphia. but because i am not under the impression that everything's cool.

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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old Jul 10th, 2009, 04:59 AM
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Re: Camp: Private Pa. pool turned away minority kids

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Originally Posted by mykarma View Post
Happy you changed your mind but separate pool or not, the kids weren't freeloading and sneaking in the pool. They paid to use the pool plus the white parents pulled there kids out of the pool as though they were going to catch blackness disease or something. (damn ridiculous)
Any kid at a country club has to be freeloading off of someone

But you're right. If there was only one pool and people just left after a crowd of brats started showing up, I could understand that. But pulling their kids out of the pool and then standing there making ugly comments is bullshit. Here's their website, BTW

http://www.thevalleyclub.com/
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