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Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

This documentary chronicles the life work of Fred Rodgers who for decades enacted his vision of children’s programming through Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood, a show broadcast on PBS. It was really fascinating how he took his concept, with simple staging, the use of puppets, and the routine of changing into sneakers and a cardigan when coming on stage and turn it into something that impacted children all over the country (and, as we see in one scene, public policy). His shows approached issues of inclusion as well as dealt with current events with concepts that children could understand. It is really great to see a film that shows someone who had a great capacity to love and who, as we see in how he dealt with the man who played Officer Clemmons, also had the capacity to change. Big thumbs up for me for a film whose messages are very timely in an era when we seem to collectively have moved away from tolerance, inclusion, and love for one another.

About Gary Burkholder

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