Lee’s Summit water park responds following accusations of racism
LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. (KCTV) - While people entered Summit Waves in Lee’s Summit this afternoon, they were greeted by more than just employees.
Outside the entrance, a few protestors were holding up signs after a local family says they were discriminated against by the water park over the weekend.
“It just kind of made me a little upset this is still going on in 2022,” said Sarah Washington, who brought her daughter with her to protest.
Last night, KCTV5 aired a story about the incident involving the Evans family.
We spoke with Chris Evans, the father, who says his sons decided to spend their personal money a month ago and invite 250 friends to a private pool party at Summit Waves.
When they arrived at the park on Saturday with their guests, however, the Evans said they were denied access to the park and were told their event was canceled.
It was an exchange that was partially caught on camera.
Evans can be seen talking to a park official and saying, “You are canceling a kid’s birthday party because you’re not comfortable.”
The park official responded, “Yes.”
Evans asked, “What are you uncomfortable about?”
As she began to answer, the person recording said, “Because we’re Black”.
The park official is heard responding, “No.”
The official from the park went on to say that, before the video ended, the number of people the event had reached was a concern.
Today, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department released a statement. They said it was canceled by Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation “[a]fter it became aware of social media posts advertising the event. This raised serious concerns about the safety of party guests and the possibility the event would grow beyond the capacity of staff.”
The Evans family said Sunday they were never given a full explanation of why their event was canceled.
The release goes on to say: “After multiple attempts to reach the renter in advance of the event to discuss safety concerns, a connection was not made until the hours leading up to the event. At that point, the only recourse was to cancel the event. Despite the cancellation, approximately 500 teens arrived in the Summit Waves parking lot.”
“With them saying they feel uncomfortable, that is what put a kind of a concern to the turn away and all the kids being Black. They could have worked something out,” said concerned parent Jai Turner.
The city also stated: “Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation is committed to ensuring the safety of all patrons and will continue to work with the renter.”
KCTV5 tried to ask the city some specific questions regarding the information in today’s release, but they would not provide additional comments.
As for the Evans family, they have hired an attorney.
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