Growing up, Jason Ligons didn't feel that the outdoors were for Black kids like him. Being a strong, talented swimmer was a surprise to many people. He wants children of color in greater Portland to know that water and swimming are for them.
He knows this disconnection from water is recent, tied to Jim Crow laws, red-lined neighborhoods, white flight and the decline of city pools. Before the Civil War, Black people had higher rates of swimming profiencey than whites. Now nearly 70% of Black children have low-to-no swimming abilities. The numbers are nearly as bad for other children of color. Ligons wants that to change.
Read about Ligons in the summer 2020 issue of Our Big Backyard, Metro's quarterly parks and nature magazine.
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