The Missouri family’s pool party was canceled because park employees felt “uncomfortable.” Dad says it was because they’re black.

A black father says officials at a water park in suburban Kansas City, Missouri, canceled his son’s birthday party reservation because of his race.

Chris Evans said he agreed to a contract for about $2,000 to host Saturday’s party for up to 250 teenagers at the Summit Waves Aquatic Facility in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, but when his sons arrived at the park, employees at the City run complex informed them that the reservation was cancelled. Evans said he and his wife were on their way to the park when they were told “that this event does not represent Lee’s Summit Waves and that my reservation was canceled because (a park official) felt unwell,” according to reports .

Video footage of the interaction between a park worker, accompanied by a police officer, and the family and group of partygoers was posted on TikTok.

“You canceled a child’s birthday party. It’s a private party,” Evans told the park attendant as she shook her head in agreement.

“Because you’re not feeling well,” added his wife LeyShon Evans.

“What makes you uncomfortable?” asked the father.

“Because we’re black. Because we are black. Because we are black,” said the person behind the camera.

The park official on camera pointed out capacity issues but was drowned out by the murmurs of the crowd. Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation Department said up to 500 people turned up for the party at the park and it was promoted on social media, which violates the contract Evans signed. The department also said officials did not arrange additional security for the party as described in the contract. They claim they made several attempts to reach the family and decided to cancel the event after failing to contact them.

“Safety in relation to the expected crowd and the potential impact on party guests and staff was the only reason for the cancellation,” the statement said.

Noah and Isaiah Evans are reportedly YouTubers with 60,000 followers. The boys wanted to throw the party to celebrate Isaiah’s 17th birthday and it was a chance to have fun with friends before going back to school. Isaiah posted a flyer on his Instagram page on July 12 promoting the Splash Bash 2 event. The flyer notes that safety would be “heavily enforced.”

Her father, Chis Evans, said the event was canceled before guests arrived and there were never “close to 500 kids in the parking lot.” The park was already sold out, so there were at least 600 people in the park, he added. The family also hired off-duty police officers or security guards for additional support.

“How did you count 500?” he asked during a Tuesday news conference. “How did you distinguish the mingling guests?”

According to the caption of the TikTok video, a water park lifeguard used racial slurs to describe the partygoers on Snapchat after the incident came to light.

Lee’s Summit Mayor William Baird denounced the lifeguard’s “appalling” comments on Tuesday and criticized the park’s decision to cancel the reservation. He said the parks department should “reevaluate its approach.”

Department officials said they apologized to the Evans family for “the inappropriate and insensitive language” and took action to address the incident. The family received a full refund, and the department said it will review its rental process and revise training to align with the city’s diversity and inclusion policy.

Chris Evans said he is concerned about the lasting impact the ordeal will have on his sons and their friends.

“These are guys with 3.8 GPAs, 4.0 GPAs, some going to the University of Missouri, top athletes at Lee’s Summit, Lee’s Summit West,” Chris Evans said.

The father also wants to make sure this doesn’t happen to any other black man. Evans said the department needs to review its hiring and training practices. The father said the community at Lee’s Summit and Kansas City needed to come together to change things.

Evans also told reporters he wonders how his wife would feel about her sons leaving the house knowing that “there’s so much anger and frustration and you’re uncomfortable when we’re there.” “My family has to be okay,” Evans said. “Other black families must be fine.” The Missouri family’s pool party was canceled because park employees felt “uncomfortable.” Dad says it was because they’re black.

James Brien

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