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Wisdom Class – ‘Wade in the Water: Drowning in Racism’ – a conversation about equality in aquatics

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Date(s) - 05/05/2021
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm


Join TAO member Ron Ames, along with special guests Cathleen Dean and Thaddeus Gamory, for a discussion about the film ‘Wade in the Water: Drowning in Racism,’ which tackles segregation at Florida’s beaches and swimming pools.  From Ron:  Rest assured this film has significant historical, cultural and practical value as means of social justice and racial equity.  Cathleen Dean, Thaddeus Gamory and Diversity in Aquatics Network are powerfully positioned with this film to educate the public and dispel the negative myths and stereotypes associated with the barriers .  This powerful positioning is evident in our membership in the first of its kind, United States National Water Safety Action Plan, Diversity, Racial Equity and Inclusion Committee, which is part of the World Health Organization Strategy to fight the Global Drowning Pandemic. 

Film Summary:  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. That’s what Miami filmmaker Cathleen Dean explores in her new documentary, “Wade in the Water: Drowning in Racism.” 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.

Film producer, director, and photographer, Cathleen Dean, Black Cat Media Group, creates innovative work inspired by her experiences in South Florida. Dean’s surroundings help fuel her work, and her subjects, translated through her storytelling abilities, engage her audience to ask questions about their surroundings. Dean approaches her work from an anthropological point of view, aiming to uncover historical truths that have been lost, forgotten, or hidden with time, and illuminate their consequential presence in a contemporary environment. Dean is the Directory of Arts and Theatre Performance for the L.A. Lee YMCA/Mizell Community Center, City producer of the 48 Hour Film Project and has garnered awards as director/producer for the films Being, Wade in the Water: Drowning in Racism, Happy To Be Nappy and Runway Afrique.

Thaddeus Gamory is the Director of Community Engagement and Partnerships for Diversity in Aquatics – the President – SWIMS Foundation, Head Coach – Diversity in Aquatics Masters Swim & Triathlon Club.  Faculty member Center for Mind Body Medicine; Founder – Mind Body Aquatics and Blue-Mindfulness Training – a trauma informed-anxiety sensitive, culturally-competent, historically-accurate approach to gaining wellness through water for Black Indigenous and People of Color Communities.  Thaddeus completed Racial Equity Training with both the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond “Undoing Racism (2017)” and The Racial Equity Institute “Dismantling Racism (2019)”, resulting in being invited to join The Equity Consultant Group, as a Racial Equity Trainer-in-Training, and the People of Color Caucus of Broward County. Thaddeus retired from the New York City Police Department in 2002 in the rank of Lieutenant and is a graduate of John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public & Governmental Administration. 

Registration is required for non-members; please purchase tickets here
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