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Missouri families say racism has led to the cancellation of pool parties

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The Associated Press

Associated Press

LEEDS SUMMIT, Missouri (AP) — A black family said racism prompted water park workers outside Kansas City to give them a private pool party for their 17-year-old son's birthday over the weekend. He says he urged him to cancel.

Chris Evans said he signed a deal with Lee's Summit's Summit Waves Aquatic Facility to invite 250 of his guests to Saturday's party. However, when his sons arrived at the park, they were told their reservation had been canceled and no reason was given. , said, "I learned that the event was not representative of Lee's Summit Wave and that the reservation was canceled because (park officials) were uncomfortable with it." The Kansas City Star reported.

The official met his parents, who had arrived surrounded by police officers, and reiterated that there would be no party.

"What are you afraid of, Lee's Summit?" Evans asked at a press conference. "Why are you offended?"

Lee's Summit Parks and Recreation division, which operates the water park, issued a statement on Monday saying efforts were made to notify the Evans family.

"After multiple attempts to contact the renter prior to the event to discuss safety concerns, no connection was established until several hours prior to the event," the statement said. said. "At that point, the only recourse was to cancel the event."Lee's Summit Mayor William Baird said in a statement Tuesday that the Park Service was investigating, He said a different process should have been used to address safety concerns and ensure patrons were treated with dignity and respect.

accused a park employee of "horrifying" statements he said he made on social media after the incident.

"We must deliberately embrace a welcoming and inclusive culture, and constantly condemn the urge or urge to exclude," he said. .

The city's parks department said in a statement Monday that the event had been canceled after officials noticed it was being advertised on social media. "We have raised serious concerns about the safety of our guests and the potential for the event to expand beyond the capabilities of our staff," the statement said, adding that approximately 500 teenagers arrived at the park despite the cancellation. 42}

Evans countered that the event was canceled before the teens arrived and that "never there were nearly 500 children in the parking lot."

He also asked how park officials could distinguish party guests from other guests in the park. Mr Evans, who hired him, said the officers on the scene did not share their concern that the party would get out of hand. was,” he said. "They are good kids with good grades and bright futures who don't deserve this treatment. And that goes for all the kids in the park that day."