Wed, November 17, 2021
10:00 am - 11:30 am

Water is Our Medicine

A Private Film Screening of the Award Winning and Emmy Nominated Documentary Film “Wade in Water: Drowning in Racism”

Thank you for joining your colleagues and Prime Time as we featured an impactful Emmy-nominated documentary film, titled “Wade in Water: Drowning in Racism,” that showed viewers the obstacles that separated Black people from a historical connection to water. A result of public policies and private actions that, by design, aimed to segregate bodies of water by race, Black people missed experiencing the most desirable outdoor spaces. Many of these policies and practices remain in effect today.

Every day, there are nearly 10 accidental drownings in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s 3,500 people every year who die in water. Within these numbers is a startling fact: the fatal-drowning rate of Black/African-American children is three times higher than white children.

Undoing them is critical to making public space in America truly public, ensuring that all Americans enjoy the basic human right to leisure and recreation, and to engaging Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BlPOC) communities and their allies to consciously restore and reconnect to water as a source of healing and racial justice.

Social and emotional learning and positive youth development are largely aimed at cultivating a sense of connection, belonging and resiliency within our social and natural environments. As such, in South Floridawhere water is an integral part of our space and daily life, it is crucial that SEL and youth development work in learning spaces includawareness and skill-building tools that allow young people to heal and build a healthy relationship to water.  

We hope you enjoyed hearing from panel, including the creator of the film, notable BIPOC community leaders and advocates actively working for water safety, racial healing and justice. The call-to-action is to utilize mindfulness and healing–centered practices, diversity in aquatics and community-of-practice opportunities and resources for the benefit of youth, colleagues and families in our out-of-school time environments.


Printable Resources

About the Film

The 2021 Emmy-Nominated documentary film “Wade in the Water: Drowning in Racism,”

by multiple award-winning South Florida filmmaker Cathleen Dean, dives deep into Black Florida’s 1960s fight for the right to swim in state beaches and swimming pools.  From seaweed to lost beach balls, sun-seekers bump into all sorts of surprises swimming along Florida’s iconic beaches. For Black swimmers however, there’s a complex history floating off Florida’s blue waters – one of segregation and violence, but also one of protest and resistance. Diving deep into Black Florida’s fight for the right to swim, the film brings to life the 1960s Civil Rights protests that desegregated the state’s beaches and swimming pools.

Filmmaker Cathleen Dean, through this documentary, intends to enlighten viewers of what Black people went through back then, and to motivate them to use the resources of today to get more Black people involved with water, “Learning about the obstacles that separated us from our historical connection to the water, we can start making our back. We can take advantage of the access we have and enjoy the water,” said Dean.