We talked a lot about the criminal justice system and prison industrial complex, especially as it pertains to black youth. The astronomical number of people who have been incarcerated and the effects their imprisonment has on those individuals, their families, and the communities they leave and sometimes return to is part of that discussion. Yet we often ignore the way that children are impacted by this. Sesame Street has made headlines recently for including incarceration as part of their “Little Children, Big Problems” series:
The long-running PBS children’s education show launched the ‘Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration’ educational program earlier this week.
Organizers say the campaign is aimed at helping kids aged three to eight in the U.S., which has the highest incarceration rate in the world.
A toolkit of resources has been uploaded onto the Sesame Street website including videos, printable brochures, eBooks and apps.
‘The incarceration of a loved one can be very overwhelming for both children and caregivers,’ reads a message on the website. ‘Here are some tools to help you with the changes your child is going through.’
Read more at The Daily Mail.
In a sense, Sesame Street’s efforts seem like a constructive attempt to deal with a large problem that is growing. Yet, get this: According to The Atlantic, the program is funded by BAE Systems. “The British contractor, whose U.S. subsidiary is one of the largest suppliers to the Department of Defense, depends — like many other defense contractors — on the low-overhead labor of prisoners incarcerated at for-profit facilities. That said, BAE has a large philanthropic arm, and perhaps “Little Children, Big Challenges” was one of the more obvious projects to support.”