A Georgia YMCA is siding with a 12-year-old swimmer who wore a suit with "Black Lives Matter" printed on it after an official nearly disqualified her in a competition over the weekend.
The independent volunteer official has been banned from all future swim meets after nearly disqualifying 12-year-old Leidy Gallona for the message on her swimsuit, because they felt it violated USA Swimming's policy against political language.
The Duluth YMCA disagreed, siding with Gallona, who told local Fox 21 News she made the swimsuit herself after learning about the murder of 22-year-old Amir Locke in Minneapolis.
"I was like, why do I have to take my suit off if like my life matter, other Black people's lives matter too?" Leidy told the outlet.
"Black people that are getting killed, their lives matter because they were, their lives were taken from them. So I think it's respectful to show that I matter, everyone that's Black matters too," Leidy said.
Leidy's mom, Sarah Lyons, stepped in when the official said she would have to take off the swimsuit in order to keep competing in the meet, questioning who gets to define "political language."
"The easy thing to do would've been to take the suit off and she chose not to do that," Lyons said of her daughter. YMCA officials also sided with Leidy who overturned the official's decision and allowed the young swimmer to finish competing.
In a statement, the YMCA said they are continuing training efforts for staff.
"We know that Black lives matter and we will continue to work to educate ourselves, to stand against inequality, and to strive tp be active allies in the ongoing fight for diversity, equity and inclusion.
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