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Talking to kids about race and racism can be complicated and potentially uncomfortable, but it is a critical step to raising them to become our most empathetic and compassionate generation yet.

To help encourage this important conversation and honor Hispanic Heritage Month, Penn State is pleased to welcome author, actress, and speaker Sonia Manzano on Thursday, September 16, at 8:00 p.m. for a virtual address on the topic How to Talk to Kids about Race and Racism. Sonia, known worldwide as Maria from Sesame Street, will talk about the subject and then field questions from the audience.

Sonia is one of the most influential Latinas in television and broke ground as one of the first Hispanic characters on national television. She has spent her life delivering messages of diversity, hope, and understanding to children and adults alike through her work on Sesame Street. She is the author of multiple published books, including A World TogetherBecoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South BronxMiracle on 133rd StreetThe Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, and The Lowdown on the High Bridge: The Story of How New York City Got Its Water.

The virtual event is free to attend and open to the entire Penn State community, as well as the public. It is especially relevant for parents, educators, and other adults who interact frequently with children and teens. Questions must be submitted prior to the event.