Sesame Place, a theme park located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, announced initiatives to expand its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion on Tuesday, weeks after a video went viral of a character appearing to snub a Black family.
The theme park, which is based on Sesame Street, said that it has enlisted national experts to provide a “comprehensive racial equity assessment, the development and implementation of an anti-bias training and education program, and enhancements to ensure a best-in-class diversity, equity and inclusion.”
It comes after Jodi Brown posted a video on July 16 that appeared to show someone dressed as the Rosita character snubbing her two Black daughters during a parade.
Separately, Quinton Burns filed a $25 million federal civil rights lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleging that four unnamed employees dressed as various Sesame Street characters ignored his daughter, a 5-year-old Black girl named Kennedi Burns.
The lawsuit alleges that other Black guests also had their rights violated in other instances, accusing the characters of ignoring Black children “while openly interacting with similarly situated White children.”
Sesame Place has issued multiple apology statements, first saying that the Rosita character “did not intentionally ignore the girls and is devastated about the misunderstanding,” then saying in a follow-up statement that equity training would be implemented.
Under the series of initiatives announced on Tuesday, Sesame Place will undergo a “racial equity assessment” that will “review policies, processes and practices that impact guests, employees, suppliers and the community to identify opportunities for improvement.”
All park employees will also participate in a “substantive training and education program” on diversity and inclusion by the end of next month.
“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,” Cathy Valeriano, president of Sesame Place Philadelphia, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“We are committed to making sure our guests feel welcome, included and enriched by their visits to our park.”
Sesame Place did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.