Sesame Place Philadelphia is mandating that all employees complete bias training, following a viral video showing two Black girls being ignored by a costumed employee and an active $25 million racial discrimination lawsuit.
According to NBC News, the Sea World Parks and Entertainment-owned amusement park made an announcement on Tuesday emphasizing its expanding commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Through a series of initiatives, all employees are required to commit to training until the end of September 2022, as well as undergo a racial equity assessment, and participate in a developing anti-bias training and education program.
In a press release, Sesame Place stated that the racial equity assessment will include a “review of policies, processes, and practices that impact guests, employees, suppliers, and the community to identify opportunities for improvement,” adding that the assessment will include “engagement with both internal and external stakeholders.”
National experts in civil rights and DEI have been tapped to establish the racial equity assessment, training and education program, and DEI program improvements at the park. The inner circle includes Debo P. Adegbile, the Chair of the Anti- Discrimination Practice at WilmerHale LLP and a Commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; Joseph West, the current co-Chair of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at DuaneMorris; and Sadiqa Reynolds, leader of the Louisville Urban League.
“We have already begun engaging with employees, guests, civil rights groups as well as community leaders, and instituted some interim measures at the park while the review proceeds,” said Cathy Valeriano, President of Sesame Place Philadelphia, in a statement.
“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. We are committed to making sure our guests feel welcome, included and enriched by their visits to our park.”
BLACK ENTERPRISE previously reported on the Black Baltimore family who filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Sesame Place in response to four employees dressed as Sesame Street characters who allegedly ignored Quinton Burns, his daughter Kennedi Burns, and other Black guests during a meet-and-greet event on June 18.
The park had since apologized and pledged additional training for its employees.