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Young swimmer allowed to race in BLM swimsuit after disqualification


A 12-year-old girl was allowed to participate in a Wisconsin swim meet over the weekend while wearing a swimsuit with “Black Lives Matter” written on it after previously being disqualified, CNN reported.

Leidy Gellona was originally told she was ineligible to race in the meet when she showed up with Black Lives Matter written on her swimsuit. The young girl had ironed on the letters the night before the competition, her mother Sarah Lyons told CNN’s “New Day” on Wednesday.

“I felt bad and I felt disrespected because I wanted to show that I mattered,” Leidy, who is Black, said after a volunteer official disqualified her following her first race.

Lyons said her daughter had another plain swimsuit on hand but opted to stand her ground and fight the ruling.

“She came and told me that she was absolutely not taking the suit off and I said, ‘Whatever you want to do I support that,'” Lyons told CNN.

The decision was ultimately reversed when Lyons contacted the head of the Duluth NAACP.

“The Duluth YMCA is saddened that the student, their family, and teammates had to endure this unacceptable behavior,” the organization said in a statement, noting that the volunteer official was banned from future swim meets.
It added, “The Duluth YMCA will continue our ongoing commitment to train all staff and volunteers on diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
Lyons said her daughter became inspired to show her support for the BLM movement after they had a conversation about Amir Locke.
Hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets in Minneapolis to protest the death of Locke, who was fatally shot earlier this month by police.

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