Duo raising funds to send children to movie

By COLIN CAMERON,

Hattiesburg residents and power couple KiSondrea Bradford and Caleb Faulkner are using their unique platform to inspire local children of color.

As a part of the “Black Panther Challenge,” these two real life heroes are raising money to sponsor 70 children and the entire staff at the Hattiesburg Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club so they can see the premier of the new Marvel film “Black Panther.”

“We are going to pay for everything,” Faulkner said. “We’ll be able to cover the entire cost of their tickets, food and drinks. We might even have some left over to cover the gas to get them there.”

“Black Panther Challenge” was originally kick started by New York resident Frederick Joseph when he launched a GoFundMe campaign to help send the youth in Harlem to see the film.

Since then, the challenge has quickly spread via the Internet.

Bradford and Faulkner co-host a podcast together titled “Questions That Need Answers” (QTNA). The two explained that whenever they learned about the challenge, they decided their podcast platform would be best way to spread the word and reach the maximum amount of people.

“Our podcast is something that reaches people we may not have the chance to talk to regularly, or people we may have never met before,” Bradford said.

She added the amount of support they’ve received so far has been “mindblowing.”

“We’ve had so much support from all kinds of people no matter what color they are,” Bradford said. “I’m just really happy that this idea is coming to life.”

Faulkner said they were able to raise more than $500 in just the first week after posting the GoFundMe link from their podcast’s social platforms.

Bradford and Faulkner’s efforts will ultimately provide these children with more than just an exciting movie-going experience, however.

“In a nutshell, it is an opportunity to show kids a positive representation of people that look like them,” Bradford said.

Faulkner explained that the unfortunate truth is a lot of these children may not necessarily have any father figure or positive role model in their life; therefore, he believes it is essential that these children witness an inspirational hero they can relate to like Black Panther.

“A lot of times, unfortunately, these kids see way too many images of people that look like them for negative reasons,” Faulkner said. “We thought this would be a great opportunity for them to see a black hero and all of his friends, who are all incredibly smart, strong and rich, and they’ll be inspired to grow up to be like that too.

“They aren’t seeing people of color as football players, basketball players, rappers or slaves. They are seeing this hero fight side by side with heroes like Iron Man and Captain America, only this time he looks just like them,” he added.

According to Faulkner, this entire idea is not that kids will see “Black Panther” and necessarily want to become like a super hero, but rather they will simply be inspired to do something great later in life.

“These kids might see the character as a scientist, and in turn be inspired to study science,” he explained. “Or, they may see the character fighting crime, and in turn be inspired to one day become a police officer.”

As a child, Faulkner attended the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club in Hattiesburg. He explained that the organization had a significant positive impact on his childhood, and therefore is one reason he felt inclined to raise money to sponsor this event.

“That place meant a lot to me as a kid, and this is a just a cool way to give back to them,” Faulkner said.  “The Boys and Girls Club still doesn’t have a space right now from the tornado last year. We thought this would be a great way to give them some hope during this time.”

The film is set to premier on Feb. 16. Currently, Bradford and Faulkner have raised approximately $700.

If you would like to donate, visit: www.gofundme.com/hburgbpc

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