black-santa

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Sponsors African American Santa for Light Up the Beach

This year, Rainier Beach Merchants Association’s Light Up the Beach event is the proud recipient of an African American Santa sponsored by the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Lambda Alpha Zeta Chapter .

In 1996, chapter members Frances Cal and Margaret Stephens-Johnson conceived the idea of a Multicultural Santa Photo program. Margaret was the Center for Leadership and Learning Director at the Seattle Urban League. In partnership with the Seattle Urban League, this civic work project was launched as a direct response to a community need. Not seeing Santas like them and being able to afford it.

At the first annual Multicultural Santa Photo event, there were 3 ethnic Santas, African American, Caucasian, and Hispanic. Each child received a free Polaroid picture taken with the Santa of their choice and a candy cane. The Urban League provided the film, photo holders and candy canes.

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In 2006, moving with the times, the organization started using digital cameras. This easily allowed parents to take part in choosing their pictures. Over the past 15 years, they have presented free Santa photos to over 600 children.

In 2008, the organization relocated to South Seattle. It was the Harry Thomas Community Center at Lee House, which is located in the New Holly Neighborhood. The move enabled them to move closer to a more densely populated area with children.

The last 2 years the photos have been at the Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club.  This year, the Rainier Beach Merchants Association is thrilled to host the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Lambda Alpha Zeta Chapter  African American Santa, joining the Asian Santa sponsored by Rainier Beach Ready Emergency Hub, and Caucasian Santa hosted by Rainier Beach Veterinary Clinic for Light Up the Beach!

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