Many of us love to put up decorations for the holidays. Especially this year, thanks to COVID-19, many are going the extra mile to salvage some sense of holiday cheer and normalcy amid a year that has been anything but.
One man from North Little Rock, Arkansas also loves putting up decorations for the holidays, including a light-up sign that says “Joy” and a statue of a Black Santa Claus that he hoped would set a good example for his 4-year-old daughter.
But his happy tradition was tainted by an anonymous racist letter he said he received in the mail last week.
Neighbors put up their own Black Santas to show support for family who received a racist note.
An Arkansas man is speaking out after receiving a racist letter calling him “the laughing stock of the neighborhood” for putting a seven-foot tall Black Santa Claus display on his front lawn. Chris Kennedy, who is Black, apparently angered a racist neighbor with his Christmas display including the Black Santa who is joined by a Christmas tree and a massive sign that reads “Joy.”
The letter that Kennedy received said: “Please remove your negro Santa Clause yard decoration. You should not try to deceive children into believing that I am a negro. I am a Caucasian white man to you and have been for the past 600 years. Your being jealous of my race is no excuse for your dishonesty. Besides that, you are making yourself the laughing stock of the neighborhood.”
The letter also included an image of a white Santa Claus who had hand gestures with two thumbs down. Kennedy told CNN, “The real thing that angered me was the fact that the person who wrote it suggested I move out east where I guess they feel all Black people live.”
“After three years of having no problems from anyone with our decorations it happens this year,” he said. “We have been very active politically this year so we both feel that that might have played into this a little bit.”
However, despite the incident, Kennedy says that the Black Santa Claus will remain on his lawn because “the children love it and that’s what Christmas is about, it’s about children,” he told Fox 16.
Many of his neighbors have addressed the racist incident by showing their support in a very special way.
It’s not only the children who love what Kennedy has done for their community. Several of his neighbors have shown their support by purchasing their own Black Santa displays to join in on the diverse lawn decorations. In fact, even the home owners association is promising to display a Black Santa in their office as soon as the one they ordered arrives.
“The rest of the neighborhood has been awesome since hearing about the letter,” he told CNN. “If we are outside they often stop by and share kind words of encouragement. Some have brought us over cookies and other treats. One even brought us a yard sign that says ‘Love your neighbors Y’all.’ We have gotten gifts of Black Santa yard flags and a Merry Christmas flag with a Black Santa on it. Our neighbors have been absolutely amazing.”
One neighbor of the Kennedy’s told CNN that “Racism is something that we do discriminate against and we will not stand for it.” He added, “It’s done my heart good to see his displays for the last three years especially given who he lives next to. I hate it that their family’s having to go through that but we’ve been praying for him.”
An unnamed UPS delivery driver has been fired after being caught using racist language when delivering a package to a Latino household. The incident occurred on December 17th.
The video, which was caught on a doorbell camera’s security footage, shows a white UPS driver appearing to be angry when delivering a package.
“Now you don’t get f—–g nothing…You can’t read and write and speak the f—–g English language,” he says while writing a “failed to deliver” notice and pasting it on the house’s front door.
The Aviles family says that the footage shows that the UPS worker never even attempted to deliver the package in the first place. He never rang the doorbell or knocked on the door. Based on that, the family has come to the conclusion that the driver intentionally withheld the package from the family out of prejudice and spite
They believe that the only way the driver could’ve known that the family was Latino was by making assumptions based off the name on the package.
“The only information this driver had that could serve as a trigger for this deep-seated hate was the name on the package,” said Forward Latino President Darryl Morin at a press conference addressing the incident.
“So what we have here is a very intentional act to ruin Christmas for somebody, for someone to spew this hateful rhetoric, and quite honestly to deceive their employer,” Morin continued.
Per UPS, the employee has now been fired. “There is no place in any community for racism, bigotry or hate. This is very serious and we promptly took action, terminating the driver’s employment. UPS is wholeheartedly committed to diversity, equity and inclusion,” UPS said in a statement. They also said they contacted the family to apologize.
But the Aviles family is still rattled that such bigoted people are out and about, letting their petty prejudices effect other people’s lives.
“The package was a Christmas gift that we eventually received after Christmas Day, but what if it happened to have time-sensitive content like an epipen or a book I needed to take a final,” said Shirley Aviles, the mother of the man who lives at the address, told NBC News. “I don’t get it. It’s just sad.”
Aviles seemed disturbed about what this incident says about human nature. “This is about the things people do when they think no one is watching them. That’s important because that’s when you see people’s true colors and that’s what’s scary,”
A 22-year-old woman is getting a major lesson on how being Latino does not automatically grant you asylum when it comes to being racist.
Miya Ponsetto gained national attention and managed to distract everyone from their holiday break this past week when her racist behavior was captured on video. In an incident posted to Instagram the day after Christmas, Ponsetto could be seen attacking the 14-year-old son of trumpeter Keyon Harrold after falsely accusing him of stealing her iPhone.
Miya Ponsetto was taken into custody on a warrant from New York after a brief car chase with police in California.
According to New York Daily News police used physical force to restrain Ponsetto. “They had to pull her out of the car. They did use physical force,” Eric Buschow, a spokesman for the sheriff’s department explained. “She tried to slam the door on the leg of one of our deputies and so she was forcibly removed from the vehicle.”
Two officers with NYPD’s Manhattan South detective bureau were sent to California on Wednesday to work with LA police to find Ponsetto, question her and convince her to return to New York with them.
“I have no clue if she’s in custody. I had a difficult day with her. We had an interview lined up, and within 10 to 15 minutes, I realized she was not well, not mentally fit to do any interviews,” Ponsetto’s lawyer, Sharen Ghatan said “So I’m not surprised this has happened if she’s in custody. I haven’t heard it. She was very much MIA for a while, and when she finally came to the big interview, it was clear to me she shouldn’t be there. I’m concerned for her wellbeing.”
Video of Miya Ponsetto fighting with cops during a DUI arrest weeks before her assault of Keyon Harrold, Jr. has surfaced.
In the video of the incident that took place on Oct. 3 outside of a Chevron gas station. Ponsetto can be seen acting out against police officers attempting to detain her after confirming she was intoxicated. Ponsetto’s mom, Nicole Ponsetto, can also be seen.
In the video, Ponsetto resists the efforta of an officer to place her in cuffs.
“I’m not even touching you,” she screams. “You are asking for literally a lawsuit. I didn’t do anything to you.”
“I just think you guys are like a joke,” Ponsetto says at one point while pinned to the ground. “There are gang members that are killing people right now and you’re arresting a girl?”
In a virtual interview with CBS This Morning host Gayle King that took place hours before her arrest, Miya Ponsetto wore a Daddy hat.
During an interview, which her lawyer sat in on, Ponsetto told Gayle King, “I admit, I could have approached the situation differently, or maybe not yelled at him like that or made him feel … inferior, or like I was hurting his feelings.”
Later, as King pressed Ponsetto to admit she had grossly misbehaved, Ponsetto insisted she was just. girl. “OK, so basically I’m a 22-year-old girl. Racism, uh, is … how is one girl accusing a guy about a phone a crime?” Eventually she snapped at Gayle’s questioning saying “alright Gayle, enough!” She even flounced a hand at Gayle while her lawyer attempted to get her to reel it in.
No doubt, Ponsetto’s decision to wear a hat with slang referring to the authority of a man was poorly made. It was also extremely disrespectful considering that she did so knowing that she would be in the presence of a well-known and respected Black journalist who had offered her a chance to redeem herself with an interview. Ponsetto’s hat proves to be a representation of her character: a privileged woman, making no attempts to endear herself to a woman of color who worked hard to get where she is despite the many ways the world has tried to hold her back.
In response to her interview, the 14-year-old Keyon Harrold, Jr.’s parents say they don’t buy her apology one bit.
Speaking to CBS This Morning host Gayle King in a later interview Keyon Harrold, Sr. explained that he felt “her apology was, you know, as genuine as when she shushed you. It said a lot. I have an issue with the idea of entitlement versus character.”
“‘I apologize. Can we move on?’ Those were the exact words that she used with you,” Kat Rodriguez, Keyon’s mother, said in another interview. “Does that sound like an apology? She knew she assaulted a 14-year-old boy. Not a guy, not a man.”
The incident took place at the Arlo SoHo boutique hotel where Harrold and his son were guests at the hotel located in lower Manhattan. In the video, Ponsetto can be seen confronting Harrold and his son with accusations of theft. In the post to Instagram, Harrold explained that he and his son had left their room in the hotel to get breakfast and had just left the elevator when the woman confronted them. In the video, Ponsetto could be seen and heard demanding Harrold’s son, Keyon Harrold Jr., to show her his phone.
In response, Harrold Jr. told Ponsetto “this is my phone” to which his father told him that he did not have to explain himself to the woman. Ponsetto then came closer and demanded to an interviewing hotel guest that the case be taken off the phone.
“Literally get it back for me, please,” Ponsetto says in the video to the manager who then asked the teen to see the phone before his father could intervene. “I’m trying to settle this situation,” the manager claimed in the video, to which Harrold explained he was only making it worse.
After Harrold and his son attempt to leave the situation the woman followed after them saying, “I’m not letting him walk away with my phone.”
Security footage shows her tackling Harrold Jr. to the ground. When she approaches them again the teen’s father shouts for her to get her hands off of his son before the video cuts out.
In his post to Instagram, Harrold claimed that Ponsetto scratched him and grabbed his son. Harrold later told NBC that after the video cut off, Ponsetto, “tackled my son, you know, trying to reach in his pockets, reach in my pockets.”
According to NYPD, moments after the incident, Ponsetto’s phone was returned to her at the hotel by a ride-share vehicle she used.
Harrold told NYPD that he suffered slight injuries but his son was not injured.
“I don’t know what would have happened if my Dad wasn’t there, honestly,” Harrold Jr. explained before stating that if ever presented with an opportunity to speak to Ponsetto, he’d want an apology.
Speaking about the incident at a rally, Harrold noted that the entire incident was emotionally damaging for his son and could have become even worse had he not been with his son when it all occurred. “I want my son to grow up whole. That’s all we want. … I come from Ferguson and this has been my passport to the world,” Harrold explained, referring to his trumpet and the doors his career in music has opened for him. Harold has played at the White House, and contributed to recordings by JAY-Z, Beyoncé, Anthony Hamilton, Mary J. Blige, and Maxwell. “And I can’t even come downstairs in New York City … and just go get brunch without being attacked and wrongfully accused of something.”
Harrold Jr.’s mother, Kat Rodriguez, also noted that hotel management was culpable in the incident after failing to de-escalate the situation as well as for allowing Ponsetto to leave the scene before police arrived. She also demanded that Ponsetto be charged with assault.
“This fight is not only for our son. It’s for all of our sons and daughters,” Rodriguez explained. “If we were a family that didn’t have these connections … if I was a maid, this story wouldn’t have hit the news. What about those people that don’t get to get heard?”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke out about the incident last Thursday and remarked that the woman should face charges. “You have a teenager here who did nothing wrong, who was clearly profiled because he was young and male and Black,” he told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on New Day. “That is racism pure and simple, that is unacceptable in this city, in this country.”
Keyon Harrold Jr. is now seeking therapy for the incident. Harrold told TMZ recently that his son “wonders if he’s good enough to own an iPhone, or whether he’s out of place at a nice hotel.”
Ponsetto has since disputed the accusations against her using her ethnicity as a defense.
The NYPD is currently attempting to track Ponsetto down for assaulting Harrold Jr. On Jan. 1, the New York Post confronted Ponsetto in a video and asked her about the incident to which Ponsetto replied “I don’t know what the problem is here,” she replied.
When asked once again if she had any regrets about the incident, Ponsetto replied, “I’m good, thank you. Have a very good day. Take care of yourself.” “I’m actually 22 so I don’t know what the problem is here,” she added again. “And I’m also Puerto Rican so thank you. Take care of yourself.”
In a statement, about the incident, Arlo Hotels agreed that “more could have been done to de-escalate the dispute.”
“We’re deeply disheartened about the recent incident of baseless accusation, prejudice, and assault against an innocent guest of Arlo hotel,” the statement said. “In investigating the incident further, we’ve learned that the manager on duty promptly called the police regarding the woman’s conduct and that hotel security intervened to prevent further violence …. No Arlo guest — or any person — should be subject to this kind of behavior.”