Rev. Jesse Jackson Writes Letter to Sesame Place Amid Racial Discrimination Controversy – NBCNEWS

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TThe Sesame Place ordeal where a few black kids were ignored by park character Rosita had everyone, especially pop superstar Kelly Rowland, jumped into the breach last week.

The good Reverend Jesse Jackson has officially stepped in to add his two cents by writing a letter to the now disgraced amusement park in the hopes of helping them understand that racial discrimination can no longer be tolerated in a place that is meant to be a safe haven for all children, especially our black and brown babies.

A tweet sent last week by attorney Ben Crump shows multiple incidents that clearly show characters ignoring black children while lovingly embracing white children, some of whom literally stand arm-to-arm with those being ignored. “In our fight for freedom and equality, we’ve seen this recent incident involving Sesame Place too many times to remember,” said Rev. Jesse Jackson in his letter to Marc G. Swanson, CEO of Sesame Place’s parent company, SeaWorld. He adds in his opening paragraph: “Without genuine corporate action, discriminatory acts will always recur. Sesame Place, which is owned by SeaWorld, has not provided solutions that I trust will eradicate the culture that has stained this theme park with discriminatory practices. We need SeaWorld to take a stand against past practices and do what it takes to end discriminatory acts in their theme parks.”

Read the rest of his letter below, obtained by TMZ:

“When I saw the now viral video shared by Jodi Brown, I was shocked but sadly not surprised. We have seen discrimination in the form of excessive force by the police, just as we have seen illegal hiring practices, but seeing discrimination against our innocent children is a line that we cannot let the enemies of progress think they can cross. We must collectively let SeaWorld and other companies know that we will not tolerate racism against anyone, especially our innocent children.

SeaWorld has the opportunity to be different from past companies that have failed in the face of adversity. SeaWorld can turn this negative situation into a positive one if they put forward a sustainable action plan that will be a long-term solution to end racial discrimination in their theme park. These solutions should include financial and equitable investment in the community through:

  • Setting aside part of their purchasing budget to spend exclusively on African American companies;
  • Make proactive changes to their work and recruiting practices; Add African Americans to the Board of Directors;
  • Doing good to those injured at Sesame Place.
  • Looking for an African American company that will provide cultural and sensitivity training for all employees

I called SeaWorld’s offices to arrange a meeting with its CEO, Marc Swanson, after meeting attorney B’Ivory LaMarr in Memphis, Tennessee. I’ve encouraged attorneys LaMarr and Benjamin Crump to keep fighting on behalf of not just their clients, but the wider community. I admire their commitment to building partnerships with communities and their desire to be a solution to help SeaWorld end discriminatory practices not only in their business, but in other theme parks as well.

CC: Attorney B’Ivory LaMarr

Attorney Benjamin Crump

Keep hope alive!

Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. Founder & President”

Jackson hopes the letter will lead to a face-to-face meeting with Swanson, which will hopefully be the first step towards equal treatment in theme parks everywhere.

If anyone can do it, Uncle Jesse Jackson sure can!


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Rev. Jesse Jackson Writes Letter to Sesame Place Amid Racial Discrimination Controversy
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