WXXI AM News

Coming up on Connections: Monday, September 25th

Sep 25, 2017

Credit npr/Richard Termine/Sesame Workshop

First hour: Discussing ROC the Future's "State of Our Children" reports

Second hour: Sonia Manzano discusses playing "Maria" on Sesame Street

ROC the Future is gearing up to release its 2017 State of Our Children report. The document tracks how Rochester's children are faring "from cradle to career." The 2016 report highlighted progress in third grade reading levels and a reduction in absenteeism, while demonstrating the need for improvement in students' math proficiency and parental involvement. So how did we do this year? We'll review the 2016 report and preview this year's findings, which are set to be released next month. In studio:

  • Ajamu Kitwana, executive director of ESL Charitable Foundation and chair of ROC the Future
  • Erika Rosenberg, principal at the Center for Governmental Research
  • Jackie Campbell, director of ROC the Future

Then in our second hour: For 44 years, you could find actress Sonia Manzano on Sesame Street playing the iconic character, "Maria." While loyal Sesame Street viewers knew her as a cheerful and supportive friend to Big Bird, Elmo, and Oscar, Manzano's role on the show was more than meets the eye: she was the first Latina woman many viewers ever saw on television, and she won 15 Emmys for writing scripts that explored a number of issues, including multiculturalism. Manzano is the keynote speaker for the YWCA of Rochester's Empowering Women Luncheon on Wednesday, but first, she joins us on Connections. We'll talk to her about her journey to Sesame Street, how her tumultuous childhood influenced her career, and her thoughts about diverse casting on screen. Our guests:

  • Sonia Manzano, actress and author
  • Jean Carroll, president and CEO of the YWCA of Rochester and Monroe County