Water park accused of racism for cancelling Black teen’s party as 250 guests arrived
Chris Evans, who organised the party for 17-year-old Isaiah Evans, said he had signed a $1,900 contract to reserve the Summit Waves Aquatic Facility in suburban Lee’s Summit city and host up to 250 guests at the party on Saturday. But when guests began showing up at the park, they were denied access to the facility.
Mr Evans said while he and his wife were en route to the park to join the festivities, he recieved a message from a park official saying “this event doesn’t represent Lee’s Summit Waves and that my reservation was cancelled because she was uncomfortable”.
By the time Mr Evans and his wife reached the park, police officers were on the scene to assist park officials in barring party attendees from entering the facility. Part of the confrontation between guests and security officials was captured in a video that went viral on TikTok, collecting at least 1.7 million views.
In the video, in which someone asks a park official “what are you uncomfortable with,” someone replies, “Because we’re Black . Because we’re Black.”
Kansas City youth denied access to summit waves a water park in Lee Summit, Missouri due to their skin color. Yesterday a youth age private party was canceled on his birthday because summit waves owner said she “ didn’t feel comfortable “. She proceeded and told the group “ that they didn’t represent summit waves”. She told the group that she’d refund them their money and proceeded to shut the pool down. However guards have been caught making racist slurs on Snapchat towards the group since being outed. #racism #sadstory♬ original sound - KC Discover
Mr Evans, in subsequent comments, made clear that he felt the party was cancelled because of racism from the park’s management.
“We believe that racial prejudice in our society should be identified and called out so that it might reduce the chance of repeat occurrences,” Mr Evans said in quotes published by the Kansas City Star .
Lee’s Summit city officials on Monday defended the park’s decision to cancel the party, arguing that 500 teenagers had showed up for the party after it was advertised on social media and that certain social media posts made park officials concerned about ensuring the “safety of party guests”.
But Mr Evans hit back at the assertion that there were 500 people gathered for the party, and Lee’s Summit mayor William Baird was similarly unimpressed.
He said Tuesday that the city’s Parks and Recreation department has launched an investigation into the incident and, in the meantime, called on the Parks and Recreation department — which runs the water park — to “re-evaluate their approach”.
Mr Baird also criticised comments made by staff officials at the water park defending the cancellation of the event.
“The comments were appalling and not condoned by Parks and Recreation, and are inconsistent with the culture I know the City of Lee’s Summit strives to reflect,” Mr Baird said.
The city plans to fully refund the family for the cost of the party, but Mr Evans said the indignity it suffered on Saturday will remain.
“My kids were heartbroken that the party was canceled,” he said. “They are good kids who make good grades, have bright futures and do not deserve to be treated like this. And that goes for all the kids at the park that day.”