Poet Amanda Gorman Empowers Kids to Use Their Voices Alongside Bert & Ernie on 'Sesame Street'
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Former National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman is back on Sesame Street for the “Word of the Day” segment, and this time, she’s teaching children all about the word “voice” with the help of the beloved duo, Bert and Ernie.
“The word of the day is ‘voice,’” Ernie shared with viewers, with Gorman adding, “We use our voice to express ourselves in all sorts of ways.” The trio used their voices to sing, recite poetry, and express their feelings.
Bert, who had trouble using his voice for song and poetry, admitted, “Well, I’m feeling a bit nervous.” Gorman assured him that his feelings are valid, and added, “We can also use our voices to help support others.” Ernie encouraged Bert, telling him, “You can do this, Bert! I believe in you.”
After expressing fears of using his voice the wrong way, Gorman suggested to Bert that the three of them could all sing and recite poetry at the same time, explaining, “Our voices are stronger together.” Turning to the camera after she, Bert, and Ernie used their voices together, Gorman said, “If we come together, we can help make all our voices heard.”
While many famous figures have appeared on the kids’ show to share their own words, Gorman was the first to introduce the segment to Sesame Street viewers in 2020. “Word of the Day” was born out of Coming Together, a racial justice initiative created and executed by the show’s network, which aims to “help children grow up with a healthy self-identity and sense of belonging” and “create a world where all children can reach their full potential — and do so in celebration of our diverse world.”
Akimi Gibson, Sesame Workshop’s vice president and education publisher, explained in a press release, “We know that children are not colorblind; they absorb messages about their own and others’ identities from a very young age, from their own lives and the world around them.” She continued, “With these new videos — and as with all of our Coming Together content — we want to support caregivers as they help their children navigate our complex world.”
Gorman chose “upstander” for the inaugural segment, explaining to Grover and Gabrielle that the word describes someone who “uses their kind words or actions to help their friends or themselves when they’re being treated unfairly and unkindly.” It was the perfect word to kick off the initiative aimed at raising upstanding citizens who will use their voices to make the world a better place for all.
For more from Amanda Gorman, check out her kids’ book Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem, illustrated by #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long.
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