A video of two little Black girls getting snubbed by a character at Sesame Place has gone viral, and now the Congressional Black Caucus is requesting to meet with the president of the “Sesame Street”-themed amusement park.
Sesame Place includes characters from the popular and long-running children’s TV show “Sesame Street.”
Made up of mostly African-American members of the U.S. Congress, the Congressional Black Caucus was established in 1971 to use the “full Constitutional power, statutory authority, and financial resources of the federal government to ensure that African Americans and other marginalized communities in the United States have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream,” according to its website.
This latest move by the CBC, however, has Black America is wondering about the political organization’s priorities, what with the issues of police reform, voting flights, and reparations left unaddressed.
“Sesame Street is one of the nation’s highest-rated TV shows that, at one time, more than 95 percent of all American Preschoolers watched,” the caucus said in a release, Fox 59 reported. “So, naturally, Sesame Place should be where all children can go to have fun and celebrate. Sadly, that has not been the case.”
Jodi Brown, the mother of the two girls posted the video on Instagram on July 16, showing the character “Rosita” giving high-fives to people in the crowd, but when Rosita gets to the two girls, they appear to be waved off. Brown told CBS News her daughters were “sad” and “heartbroken.”
Brown wrote that the character hugged a white girl immediately after snubbing her daughters.
CBC, chaired by Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), said it wants to have a sit down with the park’s president and general manager, Cathy Valeriano, to discuss the incident and wants the part to implement changes to ensure there is inclusiveness.
“The show reaches young children in all demographics, with a particular impact on economically disadvantaged children, and families of color should know they will be welcomed at any institution that carries the Sesame Street name,” the CBC statement reads.
Sesame Place has issued a formal apology.
When contacted for comment, Sesame Place said it offered to meet the family and their attorneys to offer a personal apology, The Hill reported.
“To be very clear, what the two young girls experienced, what the family experienced, is unacceptable. It happened in our park, with our team, and we own that. It is our responsibility to make this better for the children and the family and to be better for all families,” Sesame Place said in a statement.
But the involvement of the CBC has caused backlash on Twitter.
“It’s really kind of unbelievable the things that are prioritized. I mean there are really big problems within black America. A couple kids not getting a high five isn’t one of them,” tweeted Harrison Bergeron: Secretary of Equity.
Some questioned the usefulness of the CBC.
“CBC is worthless. They don’t advocate for meaningful legislation for Black Americans but have time to meet with Sesame Place,” tweeted Pretty Woman Living Single in a Different World.
The same Twitter user added, “On the list of things for the CBC focus on we got 99,000,000,000,000 problems and this ain’t one.”
Yet others noted the CBC has not addressed the issue of reparations as of late.
“Still silent on #Reparations tho,” tweeted Anthony G.
“So now the congressional black talkers want to speak up, not have a meeting with w Joe Crow to end qualified immunity nor reparations but they are all turned up about racism at Sesame Place. Remember this at the polls!” tweeted the Reparationist Perspective.
Brown’s lawyer, B’Ivory LaMarr, told CBS News that they have been in contact with the park and they are seeking a “a formal apology that we believe is authentic and genuine.”
“We believe Sesame Place made a gross mistake in their first statement,” he said. “We believe their assertions are completely false and we believe we have evidence to refute that.”
The lawyer also called for the Sesame Place employee in the costume to be fired. “We believe that there is no room for racism to exist at any theme park,” he said.
And, he wants Sesame Place to take accountability and responsibility for any mental health distress families have faced in their park.
Photo: Instagram @__jodiii__