Making Waves

About The Program

Outdoor Afro launched Making Waves during 2019 in response to the alarming number of Black children who drown today tied to the historic prohibition of Black access to beaches and public pools. It is Outdoor Afro’s goal to help every Black child and their caregiver within its sphere of influence learn how to swim. Making Waves also aims to help Black families and Black communities develop a positive relationship with water.


Swem School
Atlanta, Georgia

Oshun Swin School
Seattle, Washington

Evolutionary Aquatics
Charlotte, North Carolina

Black People Will Swim
Jamaica, New York

Swimming is a life-saving and nature-embracing skill.

Outdoor Afro created Making Waves because research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consistently shows Black youth ages 10 to 14 drown in swimming pools at a rate more than 7.6 times that of white children. This public health disparity is due largely to decades of segregation and exclusion from public pools and beaches.


"As an avid angler and outdoorsman myself, I can’t begin to fathom all the joy I would have missed out on or the dangers I would have subjected myself to had my parents not ‘waterproofed’ us as kids," said Making Waves supporter Milton Reynolds. "This campaign offers such a powerful gift of freedom, agency, wellness, and possibility."

Swimmership Counter

2023 Goal: 1,000 new swimmers. Achieved: