I don't know much about Tyler Perry or his movies but I love how he turned an ugly moment into something beautiful. Would that we all have the opportunity and heart to turn around the ugly things we see. I took the following from his website and edited it for brevity's sake. I was walking through the house, and I don't know how this TV was on, but I saw a little boy on the news crying his eyes out. So I turned it up. Here is this kid talking about being kicked out of the Valley Swim Club outside Philadelphia because he was black. Did you hear me? I said, "No way, this can't be! It's 2009. I don't believe this!" But, I know it happens even in this year of Obama.
As I listened to the story the anchorperson went on to talk about a woman named Althea Wright. This young lady started a non-profit called Creative Steps to help inner-city children. And apparently she had booked the Valley Swim Club's pool and paid for it to be used by the children through the summer. As we all know, this is such a great thing. During the summer our kids can get into a lot of trouble if they don't have something creative to do. Anyway, as the story went on I was shocked to find out that it wasn't just him but 65 children in all, black and Hispanic kids, that were kicked out of the pool. You should Google this story and read it online for yourself. It's crazy! I went from being mad to being furious.
The news reporter went on to say that the president of the club and its members said, and I quote, "We don't want to change the complexion of our club." The president refunded the money of the children and asked them not to come back. WHAT?! I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I said I have to do something for these children. I can't let them think that they are inferior because of the color of their skin. Then that night I saw the president of the Valley Swim Club on the news again saying that he misspoke and that it was a safety issue and the club wasn't able to accommodate so many children. But the children themselves reportedly said that members were taking their kids out of the pool, and that they were saying things like, "Why are they here?" and "They're black", even insinuating that these kids would steal or maybe hurt their children.
This is awful, and for anyone that has grown up in the inner-city, you know that one small act of kindness can change your life. These kids see the images of President Obama on TV and then they see the drug dealers and thugs on the corner. Which do you think is more their reality? One act of kindness, one person telling them that they are special, one moment of encouragement can make them move mountains. I know it to be true because I was one of them. They don't need to be called names and be told that they are less than, because of the color of their skin or because of where they come from.
I was told that one of these children, a seven year old, asked her mother if she was "to black to be in a pool." How do you answer that? How do you get a seven year old past that? Again, it broke my heart and I wanted to do something, and I feel like you all would want to do something, too. That's why I'm telling you this. Since you all have put me in the position to be able to do something I feel like by me doing this we are all doing it together. So what I did was on Aug 1st thru 3rd I'm sending these kids to Disney World, and then to a Disney water park. I want them to know that for every act of evil that a few people will throw at you, there are millions more who will do something kind for them. This is all about the kids. So, thank you for letting me do this. Thank you so much. And do me a favor please. When you see these kids coming through the airport, (I'm sure you won't be able to miss them. I imagine they are going to be super excited) when you see them in the park and in the hotel, let's show them a whole lot of love and respect. Show them that they are just as good as anyone else. And show them that they can do or be anything they want to be no matter what any one says!