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2020 will mark the 33rd Dakar Gorée swim, where hundreds of Senegalese retrace the same path enslaved Africans traveled some 400 years ago. The Gorée Project will mark the first time in history that an African- American team competes in this symbolic event.
"There is strength in unity," said Ebony Rosemond, founder and executive director of the Maryland based not-for-profit organization. "The African Diaspora needs to come together, especially now, to better protect and support one another. But first, we need to better understand each other. We've put an all-star team together to prepare Howard University alumni, Skylar Smith and Noah Nicholas for this experience; physically, mentally, and culturally. And as viewers, both Senegalese and American, will follow this story."
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However, out of 47 swimmers, only three identified as African American: Simone Manuel, Lia Neal and Anthony Ervin. According to NCAA's demographic database, there were 22,501 swimmers across all divisions and conferences during the 2017-2018 school year. Notably, only 1.6 percent identified as African American, while 76% identified as white. African Americans are barely present in collegiate swimming as swimmers or coaches. Currently, Howard University is the only HBCU with a swim team. BKS is working to change the sport by creating a web series that showcases Black swimmers excelling in the sport.
BKS' objectives for the Gorée Project are to:
• Destroy the stereotype that Black people can't or don't swim.
• Educate African-Americans and Senegalese about their respective history and culture to build community.
The web series is funded through generous donations from the Black swim community and a crowdsource campaign which will launch July 14, 2020, on Black Kids Swim's website. The Gorée Project was created in a COVID-19 environment and in the midst of Black Lives Matter protests. BKS and it's production team combined innovative videography and live-action screencasting to capture this historic journey.
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More information on The Gorée Project: https://blackkidsswim.com/the-goree-project-the-beginning/
About Black Kids Swim (BKS):
BKS is a 501c3 organization based in Prince George's County Maryland founded in 2015 to provide access to an increased range of opportunities for Black children by encouraging the development of proficient swim techniques. BKS raises awareness, provides guidance, and serves as the go-to source for information on competitive and non-competitive Black swim team options.
Black Kids Swim
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