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The Heartwarming Story of Santa Chris

“"Meet Santa Chris A beacon of joy, resilience, and inclusivity during the holidays. From adversity to holiday cheer, Chris Kennedy turned hate mail into a festive movement, becoming the inclusive Santa we all need.”

Black Wall St. MediaContributor

Santa Chris: Spreading Joy and Breaking Barriers in the Spirit of Christmas”

“Santa Chris: Spreading Joy and Breaking Barriers in the Spirit of Christmas”

In the heartwarming tale of Santa Chris, the red-suited icon of Christmas takes on a new hue, breaking barriers and inspiring joy in the face of adversity.

Chris Kennedy, a devoted father from North Little Rock, Arkansas, found himself propelled into the role of Santa Claus after encountering racism in his neighborhood.

In 2021, Kennedy, affectionately known as “Santa Chris,” decided to diversify the representation of Santa Claus in his community.

His journey began when he received racist hate mail in response to a Black Santa inflatable displayed in his yard, intended to offer a more inclusive portrayal of the iconic figure for his young daughter.

Undeterred by the negativity, Kennedy, driven by a desire to promote diversity and inclusivity, decided to become Santa himself.

The incident that sparked this transformative journey unfolded when an anonymous letter demanded the removal of the Black Santa balloon, accusing Kennedy of attempting to deceive children into thinking that Santa was Black.

Instead of succumbing to the pressure, Kennedy turned the negative experience into a positive movement.

Taking inspiration from Kennedy’s resilience, others in the community joined his cause, displaying Black Santas in their yards. Undaunted, Kennedy took his commitment a step further, enrolling in Santa Camp—a two-day boot camp in New Hampshire dedicated to preparing professional Santas, Mrs. Clauses, and elves.

His unique experience as the only Santa of color at the camp became the focal point of the HBOMax film “Santa Camp.” “We [wanted to] send the message that not only are we not taking our decorations down, but now [I was] going to be Santa Claus,” Kennedy explained.

In a world where even fictional characters like Santa play a role in shaping cultural perceptions, Kennedy emphasized the importance of representation. “Even in fictional characters like Santa, Black kids need to see themselves reflected,” he stated.

His interpretation of Santa serves as a source of delight for Black individuals of all ages, offering a glimpse of themselves in this iconic character.

“The Black kids that see Santa being Black love it and freak out,” Kennedy shared.

“[The older Black people] will tell you they’ve never seen a Black Santa. So they’re super happy.” Santa Chris, through his resilience and commitment to inclusivity, has become a symbol of positivity and joy during the holiday season.

His journey reflects the power of turning adversity into an opportunity to spread happiness and create meaningful change.

Black Wall St. MediaContributor

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