Tara Coverdale, an Australian mother of two from Sydney, was recently banned from entering a playground with her children when she was told it is designated for a “multicultural group” only and that her family couldn’t use it because they are white.
Coverdale was attempting to take her eight-month-old baby and her four-year-old son to Alexandria Park Community Centre for the first time when a staff member approached her. The employee told Coverdale she was not allowed to be at the park because of her ethnicity.
“I’m sorry, you can’t come here. It’s a multicultural playgroup,” said the staff member, according to The Daily Telegraph-Australia. “Can I ask what your cultural background is?”
When the blonde and freckled Coverdale simply replied that she was Australian, the employee denied her entrance, stating, “I’m sorry, you can’t come here. It’s for multicultural families and people who speak languages other than English at home.”
Coverdale refused to leave, as her son was already having a fun time with a friend. She then confronted the park’s facilitator, Jo Fletcher, who also inquired, “Can I just ask what your cultural background is?”
Fletcher proceeded to give Coverdale the same information as did the employee, stating, “I’m sorry, you can’t come here. It’s a multicultural playgroup.”
“We’re in a pretty progressive area, it’s very accepting of all people. But, I feel like I’m excluded,” Coverdale told the Telegraph. “How does that help Australia, help people to integrate, speak English, and build a life? I pay a lot of tax. I pay my rates. To think I’m actually not welcome is unfair.”
As her story made its way throughout Sydney and to other parents, one citizen, Education Minister Rob Stokes, addressed the issue by demanding the park remain open to all families from all backgrounds.
“I was disappointed to hear that a mum and her young child felt they were not welcome. This is not acceptable,” said Stokes in a statement on the incident. “Everyone, regardless of their background, should feel included in these wonderful community activities.”
H/T: Heat Street
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