A 12-year-old Black swimmer was nearly disqualified from a meet in Superior, Wisconsin, for wearing a Black Lives Matter swimsuit, reports 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.
Sarah Lyons said her daughter Leidy wore the swimsuit because the Black Lives Matter movement is important to her.
“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,” Lyons told CNN affiliate KBJR.
Black Lives Matter started with a hashtag in 2012 after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida and has grown into a social juggernaut. The protest movement was reignited in the days after George Floyd was killed in May 2020 and aims to shine light on what it calls systemic racism and police brutality from America’s small towns to its urban centers.
Leidy told her mother she didn’t want to change into a different swimsuit to participate in the meet, KBJR reported. “And I said, ‘You go girl’ and ‘okay,’” Lyons told the station.
The official who threatened to disqualify Leidy was overruled by YMCA officials, and she was allowed to continue participating in the swim meet, the Duluth YMCA said. The official has been banned from future swim meets hosted by the Duluth YMCA, the organization said.