NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A North Little Rock man is going viral for a letter he says he received in the mail telling him that his Black Santa inflatable is dishonest and suggesting he move from the neighborhood.
Chris Kennedy’s excitement for the holidays is mirrored in his Lakewood front yard. Every year he plants messages of hope and love on display.
“I have this joy sign because that is what the holiday is, just a time for joy,” he said. “Go ahead and laugh. I want kids to smile.”
What puts a smile on many people’s face is an 8-foot-tall Black Santa that can’t be missed along Crestwood Road. Kennedy said he has been displaying the decoration for three years and that plenty of families and kids walk by it every single day.
“I’ve done this every year and haven’t had any issues,” he said.
Initially this year, there were no issues for Kennedy after he put up his decorations on November 1. Then on Monday, Kennedy said he received a letter he called racist, in which someone posing as “Santa’ asked him to remove his Black Santa
“Please remove your [racial slur] Santa. You should not try to deceive children into believing that I am a [racial slur],” he said, reading the letter aloud.
The letter also state that Kennedy should move “to a neighborhood out east with the rest of your racist kind.”
The Lakewood resident said the letter left him, “extremely angry,” so he took his frustrations to Facebook. Since then, people are reacting and sharing signs of support with Kennedy. Dozens of people have been supporting him, even while KARK 4 News was interviewing him.
“We love your Black Santa,” someone yelled from a car driving past.
“We just drove from Sherwood to let you know, that I hope and pray that you do not take him down, because children around here need to see him,” another woman said after driving into town.
Kennedy said he plans to keep Black Santa standing tall.
“The children love it and that’s what Christmas is about, it’s about children,” he explained, adding that this starts a conversation for people and Santa is a reflection of family. For him that’s a Black Santa and it’ll be different depending on who it is.
There is no word yet on who was behind the letter. It was mailed from the neighborhood association, but they confirmed they’re not behind this.