At the February 8 of the Boston City Council, Council President Ed Flynn and Councilor Kendra Lara refiled a hearing order to discuss water safety awareness and increasing access to swimming lessons in the City of Boston.
This hearing order is a refile from last year, where Massachusetts saw a spike in the number of drownings, particularly in the month of May. Drowning is the leading cause of preventable, injury-related deaths in Massachusetts in children below the age of 15, and unfortunately, Black and lower income communities are more likely to be affected by drownings. A study from the University of Memphis found that 66% of Black children could not swim well enough to be safe in the deep end, and a report by USA Swimming found that 79% of children in families that earn less than $50,000 in annual income have little or no swimming ability.
“As a City surrounded by water, it is vital for our young people to have basic water safety awareness and to know how to swim.We must explore ways to partner with local and community organizations to provide swimming classes for our low-income residents and young people of color so that they can have the basic skills to be safe around water.” Council President Flynn said.
“Access, knowledge, and safety are all driving factors in pool usage. If we want to ensure all communities benefit from our city facilities, we must tackle the root causes behind the decline in usage. Increasing access to swim lessons and water safety awareness is one way to move the needle towards equity and truly democratize access to recreation.” District Six City Councilor Kendra Lara said.
Council President Flynn and Councilor Lara will hold this hearing in the coming weeks. For more information, please contact Council President Flynn’s office at 617-635-3203 and [email protected]