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Mayor Baird Statement Regarding Summit Waves Incident

It is my understanding that a full investigation is underway by Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation regarding a scheduled private event at Summit Waves this past Saturday, August 6. Based upon my initial observations in connection with that investigation, I have urged Parks and Recreation to not only address certain processes that should have been undertaken, which could have alleviated obvious safety concerns, but I have also encouraged them to reevaluate their approach to communicating and interacting with patrons of our park system, including Summit Waves so that everyone is treated with dignity and respect.   

Unfortunately, statements were made by a Parks and Recreation manager at Summit Waves that were inappropriate and insensitive. We must intentionally embrace a culture that is welcoming and inclusive, and we must continually denounce any urge or impulse to exclude. I want to expressly denounce comments posted by a Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation employee on social media. The comments were appalling and not condoned by Parks and Recreation, and are inconsistent with the culture I know the City of Lee’s Summit strives to reflect.   

I urge Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation to meaningfully address the concerns raised by the Evans family over the abrupt cancellation of their event and the insensitive manner in which it occurred. The events this past Saturday provide the City of Lee’s Summit and Parks and Recreation with an opportunity to become better when it comes to creating and maintaining a culture of inclusivity.

Although this past weekend is a poor reflection of our longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, I am aware that many in our community have worked diligently to foster a culture where everyone respects the dignity and worth of all human beings. I urge Parks and Recreation to use this opportunity to engage with the City’s Diversity and Inclusion Commission to elevate its commitment to inclusion within our parks system. I have consulted with the chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Commission and the commission is ready to serve in this role.

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