Black Santa in Arkansas transforms a racist incident into a meaningful holiday custom

Little Rock, Arkansas – The holiday season is upon us, and one Santa in Arkansas is adding a special touch to the occasion.

With kids, they see the beard and the hat and you’re Santa Claus automatically,” said Chris Kennedy.

His answer to a racist letter requesting that he take down his yard decorations featuring a Black Santa evolved into a national tradition that is being observed today.

“It’s very humbling to be a part of the experience,” Kennedy said. “Working with different photographers and seeing what they are able to create and seeing the joy on those kids’ faces whenever they get to meet Santa.”

Kennedy strives to be an inspiration to everyone who comes into contact with him, offering personalized Santa outfits among other things.

My first year doing this… One of my little buddies… His name is loc. He literally walked up to me and he kept grabbing my hand and he was like: ‘You’re brown like me’,” he said. “And you know that was so heartwarming and it continues to be that way. When kids see themselves reflected in a character like Santa Claus is always a good thing.”

To help as many families as possible have a beautiful Christmas, Black Santa even gives back by collaborating with and making donations to organizations like the Lady J Foundation, the Ronald McDonald House, and the Clinton Library.

We get to continue to be a part of the community and let families in the community experience Christmas in a way that they may not have been able to do,” Kennedy said. “We want families to be able to be together and spend some time and gain some good memories for sure.”

Kennedy stated that as long as the person portraying Santa has the love and pleasure of Christmas in their heart, it doesn’t matter what color Santa is.


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