- A Missouri water park is facing backlash after a Black family said they were discriminated against.
- The family told local news Summit Waves was "uncomfortable" with them and canceled their party.
- The park responded saying that the party was canceled due to the number of attendees.
A Black family says they were discriminated against at a Missouri water park after they say a birthday party they reserved was suddenly canceled.
Earlier this month, the Evans family planned a birthday party for two teens — paying $2,000 to throw the private event at Summit Waves, a water park located in Lee's Summit, which is about 22 miles from Kansas City, KTVI reported.
When they arrived at the park, the family said that they were told by staff that the party was canceled, according to the report.
"It appears to have been canceled simply because the park staff was uncomfortable with a group of Black teenagers having a pool party to enjoy the end of the summer," Chris Evans told the outlet.
A part of the exchange posted on TikTok shows the family being turned away by an employee. One man with the group asked the employee: "What are you uncomfortable with?"
"Because we're Black," another person with the group said.
The water park released a statement apologizing to the family
Summit Waves released a statement on Tuesday saying that Lee's Summit Parks and Recreation conducted an internal investigation into the August 6 party cancellation and apologized to the Evans family.
"A sincere apology is owed to the Evans family and our Lee's Summit community," the statement said. "LSPR strives to be a respectful and inclusive organization where all members of our community feel welcome and appreciated. Inappropriate language, social media posts and behavior are not acceptable and will not be tolerated."
Additionally, the statement said that the cancelation of the party was strictly due to safety concerns around the number of people that were attending. Park officials said that when the family booked the party for their 250 guests, there was an agreement on the rental form that it stated that the party could not be promoted on social media.
According to the statement, on August 4, the staff at the water park came across a social media post about the party. The park claims that they reached out to the family on several occasions and received a slew of calls from parents regarding the safety of the event.
On the day of the party, "LSPR made the decision to cancel the event at 5 p.m. due to the inability to contact the renting party. Safety pertaining to the anticipated crowd size and the potential impact it might have on party guests and the staff was the sole reason for the cancellation," the statement said.
They added that they had a conversation with the family about the cancellation prior to their arrival, and told them again once they showed up. Evans told KTVI that they weren't made aware of the decision until they got to the park.
The statement continued: "Staff and police stayed on-site until the crowd dispersed at approximately 8 p.m. Lee's Summit Police estimated the crowd to be approximately 500 people between 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m."
But the family disagrees.
"We believe that racial prejudice in our society should be identified and called out so that it might reduce the chance of repeat occurrences," Evans said, according to the Star.
City officials also responded to the incident.
Lee's Summit Mayor William Baird issued a statement, slamming the park's actions and adding that officials are opening an investigation into the incident, according to the Kansas City Star.
"We must intentionally embrace a culture that is welcoming and inclusive, and we must continually denounce any urge or impulse to exclude," Baird said on Tuesday.
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