Senay Kenfe saw the viral video of the children from the Ron Clarke Academy in Atlanta finding out they would be viewing “Black Panther” and was immediately inspired.
The happiness on the children’s faces motivated Kenfe to start a similar campaign for underprivileged Long Beach low income students to see the movie as well.
“I work in music so I hit up a couple people I know in the industry privately, and once I got a lot of people interested in the helping, I set up a GoFundMe,” Kenfe said. “It kind of took off unexpectedly. Within a day, I’d raised $2,000.”
Kenfe explained his reasoning for choosing the movie in his GoFundMe story.
“I am of the opinion that the superhero trope and the idea of combatting the evil in the world that we exist in should be maximized and encouraged,” Kenfe wrote. “It’s hard to deny the fact that there are limited examples of such in the media today with regards to black figures.”
Kenfe said he felt the movie could show children that black figures can be heroes rather than just “slaves or criminals.”
Mareli Dominguez, a fourth grader at a Title I school was one of many involved in the plan to see the film with her classmates.
“I think it’s really good that he is trying to help kids to go see the movie because their families probably don’t have money to take them,” Dominguez said. “Now they get to go see it and tell their families about it.”
Kenfe’s initial goal was to send 50 elementary school students to see “Black Panther” in theaters, but this was surpassed immediately.
“I met that goal in one day,” Kenfe said. “So I pushed it to 100, then 200, so eventually I thought 1,000 kids was probably, logistically speaking, the most that I can deal with. It took about a week [to reach that goal].”
Kenfe explained the struggles and frustrations of getting his initiative approved by the Long Beach Unified School District in a Facebook post.
“Does anyone in Long Beach have any pull with the mayor’s office or LBUSD?” Kenfe said. “I can’t complete my mission sending these kids to see black panther if the district won’t approve me and I’ve been calling and leaving messages with these administrators everyday now with no response any help in expediting this would be greatly appreciated.”
Once his goal became viral, the media got ahold of what he was doing and more eyes were on him, city officials were more accepting and returned his calls.
Dalila Aguilar, a second grade teacher at 109th St Elementary School, expressed her appreciation for Kenfe and the impact he has had on the community.
“His efforts and accomplishments are appreciated everywhere because once people see that a local man can achieve so much, other people will start to take initiative as well to do something good for their community,” Aguilar said. “He got inspired by someone else, and now he will be an inspiration for others.”
Kenfe has been successful in his goal, sending 900 kids from 22 different schools across Long Beach on an after school field trip Tuesday to see “Black Panther.”