Sesame Street Special: Let’s Stand Up to Racism

“Sesame Workshop’s longstanding commitment to modeling inclusivity and addressing complex social issues continues this week with ‘The Power of We: A Sesame Street Special.’

Designed as a co-viewing experience for children and families, the special will address racism and help children learn ways to recognize and stand up to it. It will stream on HBO Max and PBS KIDS starting, Thursday, October 15, and debut on PBS stations the same day. The special will re-air throughout October and November on PBS stations and the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel (check local listings).

“The Power of We” features Elmo and Abby Cadabby, who are joined by 6-year-old Muppet Gabrielle and her cousin, 8-year-old Tamir, as they learn how to become “upstanders” to unfair treatment based on skin – or fur – color. Current and former Sesame Street cast members Alan, Charlie, Chris, and Gordon will also take part in the special alongside celebrity and musical guests Yara Shahidi, Christopher Jackson, and Andra Day.

We hope you will join us for ‘The Power of We,’ which is designed for families of all shapes, sizes, and colors. To continue meaningful conversations about racism with children in your life, check out our family viewing guide at SesameStreet.org/PowerofWe.

If you have any questions about ‘The Power of We’ or any Sesame Workshop programming, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

-Your friends at Sesame Workshop”

Let’s Rise, Lead & Protect the Young

The most important and revolutionary work in this world is building, repairing and caring for our relationships – caring for the young, old, healthy & sick. The kind of work that has been primarily women’s work, and because of capitalism and male domination, it’s been undervalued, undermined and made invisible. It’s becoming more and more clear that caring for the planet and healing racial and class injustice in our communities depends on the hundreds of small things we do as parents, friends, coworkers and neighbors.” – Kathryn Gardner,  RSMT,  re-evaluation counselor.

Here’s a timely poem by the esteemed novelist, short story writer, poet, and social activist, Alice Walker.

Calling All Grandmothers

We have to live
differently

or we
will die
in the same

old ways.

Therefore
I call on all Grand Mothers
everywhere
on the planet
to rise
and take your place
in the leadership
of the world

Come out
of the kitchen
out of the
fields
out of the
beauty parlors
out of the
television

Step forward
& assume
the role
for which
you were
created:
To lead humanity
to health, happiness
& sanity.

I call on
all the
Grand Mothers
of Earth
& every person
who possesses
the Grand Mother
spirit
of respect for
life
&
protection of
the young
to rise
& lead.
The life of
our species
depends
on it.

& I call on all men
of Earth
to gracefully
and
gratefully

stand aside
& let them
(let us)
do so.

Raising Antiracist Children-Ibram Kendi’s Insights

Even the most well-intentioned people cannot help but internalize racist thoughts, ideas and patterns. That’s why it is essential for parents and educators to raise young ones with the intention of being “anti-racist.”

Scholar Ibram Kendi has much to offer on the subject. Here’s one nugget:

“My understanding, when parents desire for their kids to be not racist, they typically do not talk to their kids about race. They avoid conversations about race or even explaining the racial inequities and dynamics in their community as a result. Typically, those kids are taught to be racist by society. And so, by contrast, when you’re essentially raising a kid to be anti-racist, you’re deliberately encouraging them to talk about race and racism. You’re deliberately teaching them that all the racial groups are equals. You’re deliberately showing them, yes, there are different colors and there are different cultures, and we should value them all equally.”

How Can Parents Make Their Kids Understand How To Be Anti-Racist? NPR’s Noel King talks to children’s author Renee Watson and anti-racism scholar Ibram Kendi. (7 min listen)

Kendi just published a brilliant board book outlining some key steps to being anti-racist. Feast your eyes on Ashley Lukashevsky’s artwork!

Purchase a copy of Antiracist Baby here. Consider gifting a copy to your local school, community center or public library. 

For more information, check out  Kendi’s Ted Talk: “The difference between being ‘not racist’ and antiracist.” (51 min)

No. Stop. That’s Not Fair. An Activist Chant for Children

In our preschool, we have come to use a chant in response to something that is not fair. When we know an action is hurtful, wrong or oppressive, we say, “No. Stop. That’s not fair.”  An action accompanies each word to help children embody each declaration.

“No.” (Shake head side-to-side).

“Stop.”  (Palm  out with five fingers spread out).

“That’s not fair.” (Hands on hips).

Using this chant is one concrete way we address the 3rd and 4th goals of Anti-Bias Education

Anti-Bias Education Goals:

  1. Identity– Nurture children’s self-awareness, family pride and identity.
  2. Justice– Assist children to recognize what is fair and unfair.
  3. Diversity–Nourish children’s comfort and joy related to human diversity.
  4. Activism– Support children to stand up for themselves and others. 

To learn more read: Understanding Anti-Bias Education: Bringing the Four Core Goals to Every Facet of Your Curriculum

Thanks to HFP parents for sharing clips of your child practicing the chant at home. Thanks to Sara Ziniewicz Michelman for creating the video. 

How NOT To Raise Racist White Kids- Teachings From Jennifer Harvey

 
Whether we like it or not, we are steeped in racist socialization. So if we don’t actively teach our white children about racism, they will be racist by default. 
 
Here are three resources from Jennifer Harvey, author or Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children In A Racially Unjust America
 
 1) “When we don’t break white silence with ongoing and explicit teaching about race and racism, and active and persistent modeling of antiracism, we end up raising the Amy Coopers of the next generation. Antiracism never accidentally shows up.”  CNN article How to not raise a racist white kid 
 

2) It’s not enough for White parents to just say “we’re all equal.” Check out this 7 min interview about the challenges white parents and teachers experience about talking about race.NPR Interview with Jennifer Harvey ‘

3) “The truth is that the attitudes and impulses made manifest in (Amy Cooper’s) behavior are pervasive, and she wasn’t born with them; she learned them. ” “How do I make sure I’m not raising the next Amy Cooper?” Embrace Race Webinar