As we end a tough year in a country divided by race and class, there’s always a reminder that change for the greater good is happening somewhere.
For the first time in its 24-year history, the Mall of America hired a Black Santa Claus. According to USA Today, Larry Jefferson of Irving, Texas will pose for photos with children and adults alike from Thursday to Sunday as part of the Santa Experience. One woman reportedly told Jefferson she has been waiting 25 years to see a Black Santa. Other families told him they had driven hours to the Bloomington, Minnesota mall just so their kids could meet him.
Santa Experience co-owner Landon Luther told reporters, “We want Santa to be for everyone, period.”
But not all children and families are used to a Santa of color. Jefferson revealed that one kid who looked to be about 4 years old ran up to him once and said, “Santa Claus? I didn’t know you were brown?’”
The retired U.S. Army veteran signed a four-day contract to work in Minneapolis, and will return to Texas to finish the holiday circuit.