Arthur, Barney, Bear, Big Bird, Clifford, JoJo and SpongeBob, as well as more than 100 other children's characters, have united to re-record the smash hit WE ARE FAMILY in an unprecedented music video to promote tolerance and diversity to America's children. The video, which demonstrates to children the importance of togetherness embodied in the word family, will be distributed to 61,000 public and private elementary schools in the U.S. on March 11, 2005, in celebration of the proposed National We Are Family Day.
The We Are Family Foundation together with its partners the Anti-Defamation League, Crown Theatres, Disney Channel, FedEx, Nickelodeon, HIT Entertainment, Nile Rodgers/Sony Publishing/The Bernard Edwards Estate/Warner Chapel, Nelvana, PBS, Scholastic, Sesame Workshop, Toni Mendez Shapiro Estate and WGBH have come together to produce and distribute this unprecedented children's educational music video and curriculum. The characters appearing in the video are from award-winning shows including ARTHUR, BARNEY, BEAR IN THE BIG BLUE HOUSE, BETWEEN THE LIONS, BLUE'S CLUES, BOB THE BUILDER, THE BOOK OF POOH, CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG, DORA THE EXPLORER, JIMMY NEUTRON, JOJO'S CIRCUS, KIM POSSIBLE, LILO & STITCH: THE SERIES, LITTLE MERMAID, MADELINE, THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS, THE MUPPET SHOW, THE PROUD FAMILY, RUGRATS, SESAME STREET, SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS and ZOOM, among others. The video, which also features cameo appearances by Bill Cosby, Diana Ross and Whoopi Goldberg, will air simultaneously on Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and PBS on March 11, 2005 as a Public Service Announcement. A PSA will also air in Crown Theatres across the nation.
"This is an unprecedented event: for the first time characters from all of the important kids' shows came together to appear in the same video," stated Christopher Cerf, award-winning children's TV/music producer, who, along with Mitchell Kriegman, president of Shadow Projects, spearheaded production. "The producers and performers from each show embraced the spirit and message of this project. They were thrilled to allow their characters to appear with other characters from different shows simply because they understood the importance and meaning behind WE ARE FAMILY."
Cooperation and unity are the most important values we can teach children. We believe that this is the essential first step to loving thy neighbor, said Nile Rodgers, co-writer of the song We Are Family and founder of the We Are Family Foundation. And the fun and exciting format makes it a lesson that's easy for children to learn.
The special DVD includes opening and closing wrap-around comments from characters spreading the message of diversity and unity as well as a "sing-along" version of the song. Additionally, there is a special introduction by FedEx, which has donated its services to deliver these educational packages to the U.S. public school district offices as well as to private schools nationwide.
"FedEx is proud to provide in-kind shipping for the We Are Family project. Promoting diversity is part of our corporate culture at FedEx. As a multinational corporation, diversity is not just a people issue, it's a business issue. We value the diversity of our employees, customers and suppliers. Helping to deliver the We Are Family Foundation messages of respect, understanding and appreciation of differences to our nation's schoolchildren is a natural extension of how we do business, states William G. Margaritis, svp, worldwide corporate communications.
Each package will include a DVD of the music video and a booklet containing educational lesson plans developed in collaboration with the Anti-Defamation League's Miller Early Childhood Initiative of A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE Institute. The lessons aim to put the video's themes of respect, understanding and appreciation of diversity into practice and are designed for pre-K through first grade audiences with additional teaching guidelines for grades two to six.
All teaching guides will be available for download from both the Anti-Defamation League (www.adl.org) and We Are Family Foundation (www.wearefamilyfoundation.org) Websites. In addition, a preview of the children's video is available at the We Are Family Foundation Website.
Production of this major initiative has been funded by a grant from the Toni Mendez Shapiro Estate. WE ARE FAMILY is used courtesy of Nile Rodgers/Sony Publishing and Bernard Edwards Estate/Warner Chappel.