Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude
We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

12-Year Old Black Swimmer Nearly Disqualified In Wisconsin For Wearing "Black Lives Matter" Swimsuit

The official incorrectly stated the swimsuit went against USA Swimming’s policy of no political language and was overruled.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Image for article titled 12-Year Old Black Swimmer Nearly Disqualified In Wisconsin For Wearing "Black Lives Matter" Swimsuit
Photo: Duluth Branch NAACP

Leidy Gellona, a 12-year old swimmer in Wisconsin who has always had a passion for social justice, showed up to her meet at Superior High School on Feb. 6 with a swimsuit emblazoned withBlack Lives Matter.” She wanted to show solidarity following the death of Amir Locke, but according to CNN, Lyons was almost disqualified for the demonstration.

An official had called Lyons over and incorrectly stated that her swimsuit was against “USA Swimming rules of no political language.”

From CNN:

“An independent volunteer official inappropriately barred a student athlete from taking part in the meet, due to their ‘Black Lives Matter’ swimsuit, stating that it ‘went against USA Swimming’s policy of no political language,’” according to the Duluth Area Family YMCA, which sponsored the event Sunday at Superior High School.

Advertisement

‘She is very passionate about social justice. She has been through a lot already at a young age. It’s a big part of her which I think is wild at 12,’ her mother, Sarah Lyons, told KBJR6.

Leidy’s mom, Sarah Lyons, quickly stepped in to support her daughter when she refused to take the swimsuit off. “She said, ‘mom, I’m not taking the suit off, and I said ‘you go girl’ and ‘okay,’” Lyons explained.

Advertisement

Leidy missed one race before the decision was reversed, her mom said. YMCA officials overruled the official, and Lyons was allowed to continue participating in the swim meet, the Duluth YMCA said. The organization said that the official has been banned from future swim meets hosted by the Duluth YMCA.

Advertisement

NAACP president Classie Dudley spoke to WDIO ABC about what they found on the USA swimming website and its anti-racism policy:

“If you look at the USA swimming website and what they talk about, their race, their anti-racism policy, if you look at the Y, who is open and inclusive and talks about diversity,” said Dudley. “And yet we are hiring officials that treat black women, black girls like this.”

Advertisement

Clearly, we still have a long way to go when the simple phrase “Black Lives Matter” is still too “harsh” for some to handle. Sarah Lyons offered

From KBJR6:

“There were 500 people in that room, and nobody noticed what was going on,” said Lyons. “It is a really good example of what is actual allyship and what is performative allyship in those moments when people need you to stand up even if it’s not in your best interest.”