Santa becomes symbol of diversity around Milwaukee

Posted at 8:36 PM, Dec 03, 2018

If you haven't noticed already Santa Claus is here in Southeast Wisconsin, and he's using his Christmas Magic to help children feel more comfortable around him.

While many pictures do depict Santa as Caucasian, he's been known to change his appearance. 

At the Salvation Army on Villard Avenue, Santa is African American.

His off-duty alias is Robert Boyd. Boyd says he'll be handing out presents with Mrs. Claus at this year's Salvation Army Christmas Family Feast.

The event happens on Christmas from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. at 400 Wisconsin Avenue. 

When Boyd says the reason for the change in Santa's appearance is simple, it's about being inclusive.  

"My whole thought process, when I started with this, is to give kids in the inner city someone that they can relate to," said Boyd. "Some people want to be Santa Claus. So, you never know what their dreams are. For them to see someone who actually looks like them, it's someone they can relate to."

Boyd says Santa has been working with the Salvation Army for four years and is happy to help serve the Milwaukee community any way he can. 

The traditional looking Santa can be found at Brookfield Mall, offering family pictures with jolly old Saint Nicholas. His off-duty alias is Jeff Bublitz. He's excited to reach every child, especially this coming Saturday.

The mall is hosting a sensory-friendly event for children with special needs before any of the stores open up, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. 

Bublitz says he's looking forward to it. 

"Because all children, everybody deserves a chance to see Santa and visit with Santa and be treated like everybody else," said Bublitz. 

In Racine, there is another African American Santa Claus. His off-duty alias is Allen Smith. On Dec.16 Smith says he'll be handing out toys, cookies, and pictures from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. at 2045 Mead Street in Racine. 

"It was important that kids of color can see an image that looks similar to them. Santa is the symbol goodness we wanted kids to have a positive image of goodness in their heads," said Smith. 

Smith says the event is to make sure the kids, especially those whose families could be going through hard times, gets support and love from Santa. 

No matter where you live or what you need it's obvious that Santa's magic will make sure he's there for you. So, be good for goodness sake!