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CNN and Sesame Street Held Another Town Hall for Kids & Parents – Addressing Race

CNN partnered with “Sesame Street” for a special town hall about racism, giving both kids and parents an opportunity to explore the current debate on inequality and how it affects everyone in society.

This is already the third collaboration between CNN and “Sesame Street” this year. Two prior town halls were devoted to the subject of the coronavirus.

“Coming Together: Standing Up To Racism” aired Saturday morning and covered several issues — discussing everything from how to fight racism when you see it and who to call when police officers are being unsafe.

The hour-long program is in response to the heated debate on race that was sparked by George Floyd’s death on May 25 in Minneapolis. After arresting Floyd, a police officer placed his knee on Floyd’s neck, resulting in his death. The officer was eventually arrested four days later. Enraged protests have spread throughout the U.S. and several countries overseas, calling for racial equality in police procedure and society overall. Many protests erupted into scenes of looting and destruction, but most have been peaceful according to reports.

Classic “Sesame Street” characters like Elmo, Abby Cadabby and Rosita appeared in the new town hall. Along with experts, these beloved characters answered questions submitted by families.

The event was also moderated by CNN political commentator Van Jones, CNN anchor and national correspondent Erica Hill, and Big Bird himself.

There was a special appearance by Louie, the dad of three-year-old Elmo, one of the most popular characters from the show. He helped explain racism to his son.

“Racism is when people treat other people unfairly because of the way they look or the color of their skin,” Louie explained. “Not all streets are like Sesame Street. On Sesame Street, we all love and respect on another. Across the country, people of color, especially in the black community, are being treated unfairly because of how they look, their culture, race and who they are.”

Keisha Bottoms, the mayor of Atlanta, also made an appearance, answering questions from both children and parents about why black people continue to face prejudice in society, and if it’s too early to explain to young kids about the protests occurring around the world.

Other subjects that were covered were white privilege and children’s books that deal with subjects like race and police.

“Sesame Street” has been a staple on PBS for fifty years and has always been an entertaining yet educational program for children. The show has certainly tackled social issues in the past, such as racism and death. It has won over 180 Emmy Awards and several Grammy Awards, more than any other children’s show.

Surely the new town hall is a useful tool, since there is an unprecedented presence of discussion about race in the media, which many children will be exposed to.

The entire town hall can be viewed from CNN here.


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