FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | July 9, 2009
The National Center for Lesbian Rights Condemns Racism at Pennsylvania Swim Club
A statement from Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights
(San Francisco, California, July 9, 2009)—On June 29, 2009, a group of 65 children from the Creative Steps day care center in Philadelphia were turned away from a Huntingdon Valley club after members complained and made racist remarks about the children, who were predominantly African-American and Hispanic. According to media reports, some members allegedly made comments that the children might steal from or hurt the other children in the pool.
Valley Club Director John Duesler asked the Creative Steps group to leave and later reimbursed the dues they paid to utilize the club facilities. Duesler is quoted as saying the presence of the children at the club changed the “atmosphere” and the “complexion” of the club. Later, the club posted a statement on their website continuing to justify their actions stating they were over capacity and that the children were turned away for safety.
A statement from Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights:
"This appalling and shocking incident makes clear how deeply entrenched racism still is in this country. To have kids singled out and targeted based on their skin color and race is unconscionable and shameful. This is a wake-up call to everyone committed to a more inclusive nation, where differences are celebrated, not feared. The fact that we have a President with an African heritage is not enough to end generations of racism and white supremacy. An end to that toxic legacy will only come with our individual commitment to assure that it ends.”
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.