Sesame Street might seem like an unlikely neighborhood to discover social justice in action. But taking a look at the show's history, it's clear that this long-running children's program cares about the ways in which children relate to their world - including issues of injustice and suffering. Whether it's approaching economic insecurity or dealing with parents in the military, Sesame Street adapts to suit the culture and concerns of its audience.
This Sunday (Oct. 9), Sesame Street will introduce a brand-new Muppet character - a magenta-faced, impoverished 7-year-old named Lily who represents one of the 17-million Americans who struggle daily with hunger and poverty - during a rare prime-time special called, "Growing Hope Against Hunger." The TV special aims to broaden children's understanding about issues of disparity in the United States, particularly as they relate to hunger.
Lily will travel to a community garden and encounter the wide world of Muppets and guests, including husband-and-wife, country music artist Brad Paisley and actress Kimberly Williams Paisley, in as she explores American agriculture.
"Food insecurity is a growing and difficult issue for adults to discuss, much less children," the Paisleys said in a statement.
According to Reuters:
Recent U.S. Department of Agriculture data estimates that 17 million American children have limited or uncertain access to food. And 9.6 million of these children are under the age of 6, which prompted Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization behind "Sesame Street," to launch a "Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget" initiative.
"Growing Hope Against Hunger" airs at 7 p.m. Oct. 9 on PBS.