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Sesame Place announces changes to diversity programs after recent high-profile racial incidents

LANGHORNE, Pennsylvania (KYW) — Sesame Place has announced a series of actions aimed at advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. It follows several allegations of bias against Black children.

This news announced late Tuesday afternoon comes as public outcry continues for families to boycott.

Sesame Place has announced a racial equity review following allegations of bias after a now-viral video sparked protests and calls for a boycott of the Bucks County theme park.

The family of the two little girls alleges the costume character Rosita snubbed the Black girls during a parade on July 16.

Jodi Brown, who shared the experience on Instagram, says the character high-fived a White child and woman, then gestured “no” and walked away from her daughter and niece who had their arms stretched out for a hug and high-five.

Days later, a Baltimore family filed a class action lawsuit alleging pervasive discrimination against parent company SeaWorld. They say this video shows four Sesame Place characters ignoring 5-year-old Kennedi Burns during her visit on Father’s Day weekend.

In a release issued Tuesday, Sesame Place says the equity review will be chaired by national civil rights experts. It will also include mandatory anti-bias training for all employees by the end of September, along with enhancements to the current diversity program.

Sesame Place’s president says “the actions we are taking will help us deliver on our promise to provide an equitable and inclusive experience for all our guests.”

Bucks County’s diversity officer will also review the park’s policies once all litigation has been resolved.

“It is absolutely more than just on our radar,” Bucks County project and diversity officer Bernard Griggs Jr. said.

Brown and her attorney will meet with SeaWorld’s CEO on Thursday. Civil rights leaders will also be in that meeting.

“We acknowledge SeaWorld’s recent response to the public demands made by Rainbow PUSH, NAACP, Until Freedom, and others, that stemmed from the July 16 incident at Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pa. On Thursday, Aug. 11, the parents of Skylar and Nylah will accompany me to a meeting with SeaWorld’s CEO, Marc Swanson, along with Rev. Jesse Jackson, and other leaders. It is our hope that this previously scheduled meeting will address the deficiencies we have noted from this most recent press release. We will provide a more detailed statement following this meeting,” attorney B’Ivory LaMarr said.