Black State Lawmaker’s Swimming Phobia Tells A Deep Story Of American Racism


Senator Janet Bruckner (D-CO)’s touching speech dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., has resonated in the hearts of many for its poignant reminder about racism in America.

In a meeting with senators during the MLK holiday weekend, the 70-year-old reminded fellow lawmakers of how microaggressions, implicit bias and other sublets of racism have gone on to become a normal social cues.

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“Two caucasian guys, young guys, called me the n-word and it distracted me, it confused me, and it hurt and I sunk to the bottom of the pool,” she said about an incident that happened in her youth.

“I took in so much water the lifeguards had to come to rescue me and actually do CPR to get the water out of my lungs.” Bruckner says the incident left her traumatized and while her parents offered to help her defeat her phobia, the damage was already done. What hurts the most, Bruckner explained, was hearing that her granddaughter had a similar experience in the 21st century.

“This is etched in my brain,” she said. “My granddaughter had an experience last week that just cut me to the core. That’s why we have to talk people.”

She ended with an empowering word from Dr. King. “Martin Luther King Jr. had so many amazing quotes, but one of my favorites is, ‘There becomes a time when silence is betrayal. We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today and the urgency is now.’”

Watch the speech below.

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