Sesame Place starting diversity training for workers and planning racial equity assessment 

The theme park will hold an anti-bias training and a program intended to make all races at Sesame Place feel seen, welcome and included. 

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Sesame Place has announced comprehensive initiatives in response to accusations and the resulting outrage last month of alleged racist snubbing of black children at the Philadelphia-area theme park.

TMZ is reporting that leaders at Sesame Place say they are committed to an overall racial equity assessment to review their current policies, as well as developing a new standard operating procedure for employees. 

The assessment will be completed with the assistance of internal and external stakeholders, including leaders in the field — Debo P. Adegbile, Joseph West and Sadiqa Reynolds — all of whom have extensive experience in developing diversity, equity and inclusion programs. Further, there will be mandatory anti-bias training and an education program intended to ensure that all Sesame Place guests feel welcome, included, seen and treated equally regardless of race. 

In this image from video provided by Jodi Brown, posted to Instagram on July 16, a performer dressed as the character Rosita waves off Brown’s daughter and another 6-year-old Black girl at the Sesame Place amusement park. (Photo: Jodi Brown via AP)

Fox Business reports that the assessment will “review policies, processes and practices that impact guests, employees, suppliers and the community to identify opportunities for improvement.”

“The actions we are taking will help us deliver on our promise to provide an equitable and inclusive experience for all our guests every day,” said Cathy Valeriano, president of Sesame Place Philadelphia, in a statement on Tuesday. “We are committed to making sure our guests feel welcome, included and enriched by their visits to our park,” Valeriano maintained.

As previously reported on theGrio, Sesame Place became a hot topic after the July 16 video that digital strategist Leslie Mac posted of #BabyPaige celebrating her 4th birthday went viral. In the clip, the toddler and another little girl are standing, their arms raised toward a park worker dressed as Rosita, the bilingual “Sesame Street” character. The performer appears to wave off the two children, shaking her head and turning away from them, The Hollywood Reporter noted. Sesame Place has apologized for that incident, Fox Business reports.

Weeks after the video went viral, a Baltimore, Maryland family — Quinton Burns and his 5-year-old daughter — filed a $25 million lawsuit against Sesame Place owner, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, alleging that they were discriminated against in June. It is a class action lawsuit, according to theGrio report. 

All Black people who visited the popular theme park since July 27, 2018 — and who believe they “suffered disparate treatment” from SeaWorld employees who ignored Black children “while interacting with similarly situated white children” — are eligible to file a claim.

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