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NAACP partner with Santa Station

Spreading cheer and honoring a historic moment.

NORMAL, IL - "We came to see Santa!" said Jason Riddle to his 2 year-old daughter. 

It was an emotional morning for some at the Santa Station in Uptown Normal. 

"We wanna have a better year than last year, she was definitely crying last year. So hopefully things go better" said Jason Heaeln before heading inside Santa Station with his family.

This weekend marks the 3rd annual partnership between the NAACP and the Town of Normal to bring an African American Santa Claus to the community.

"We're just excited that she came and she didn't cry and she actually sat on his lap" said Riddle.

The president of the Bloomington-Normal NAACP volunteers his time to be Santa. Councilman Chemberly Cummings was the loving Mrs. Claus. They don their costumes to share more than just holiday cheer. 

"We also want to talk up the legacy of Mr. Merlin Kennedy who was president of the NAACP back in the 60's. He was actually arrested first attempting to be a black Santa Claus back during the Christmas parade back then" said Cummings. 

When the tradition first started back in 2015, these days weren't picked at random. 

 "We really want to use this opportunity as well to honor his legacy, so 50 years to the date that that happened with him, we were able to start doing Santa Station" said Cummings. 

Spreading a message of equality and peace. 

"One thing that it does is that it shows that Santa Clause is everybody. You know Santa Clause is not just a white male, it can be someone who's African American, can be Asian, it can be anyone" said Cummings. 

Santa's Station is open each weekend leading up to Christmas. 

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