Every parent and teacher and camp counselor should start the day with this 1970s declaration.

Sesame Street is a national treasure.

I think we can all agree on that.

Sesame Street invented the idea that television could teach children, not just entertain them.

It taught kids letters and numbers and introduced them to talented and famous people, from Savion Glover to Kofi Annan.


But the curriculum on the Street was always bigger than counting and Weimaraners. From very early on, its creators showed the world as they dreamed it could be. Black people, white people, and furry blue monsters lived in the same neighborhood. At a time when people with Down Syndrome were regularly institutionalized, Jason Kingsley was a frequent guest. Moms breastfed their babies in public, and all anyone had to say about it was, "That's nice." The whole neighborhood knew enough sign language that they could talk with Linda. They welcomed a new neighbor with a song about how happy they were to have a new friend.

The most important message Sesame Street sent to its millions of young viewers was this: You matter. You are an important person. You are valuable.

In 1971, a young Jesse Jackson stood on the steps of 123 Sesame Street and got a bunch of kids to chant "I Am — Somebody," a poem by civil rights activist Rev. William Holmes Borders Sr.

These kids chant a message that we should give to every kid on earth.

Did I say kid? I mean human.

I may be poor. But I am Somebody!
I may be young. But I am Somebody!
I may make a mistake. But I am Somebody!
I must be respected, protected, never rejected.
I am God's child.
I am Somebody!




So say it loud. And pass it to someone who needs a reminder that they are Somebody.

P.S. Are you dying to learn a thousand wonderful facts about Sesame Street's origin story? I highly recommend "Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street" by Michael Davis. I'll never watch the show the same way again.

Photo courtesy of Macy's
True

Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

Keep Reading Show less
via Pixabay

Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

Keep Reading Show less