I recently saw the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? at the movie theater. Anyone else go and have themselves a good sob-fest while reliving the joy of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and all the inhabitants of the Land of Make Believe? Man, it was an emotional roller coaster. I have said so many times in recent months that I wish Mr. Rogers was still with us. That quiet voice, those reassuring words. He was the real deal, and I don’t think we realized how important he was to us until he wasn’t here anymore. As a native Pittsburgher, I remember his memorial service back in 2003, when the entire city, it seemed, turned out to see him off. Maybe we thought it was just us. Maybe we thought that as our native son, Mr. Rogers meant more to us than to the rest of the world. Watching the documentary, I realized we were very wrong. He changed the world. Just one good man, who loved children and held childhood sacred.
Aannnd I’m crying again. Geeeez. I’m not kidding guys, if you haven’t seen it yet, take boxes of tissues with you.
Awhile back, in honor of Mr. Rogers and all the good he stood for, Canned Ham Studio released a little poster that reminds us all to speak kindly – “In this house, we speak Mr. Rogers.” It can mean many things to many people. Be kind. Don’t speak in anger. Foster imagination. Respect differences. Children are important. Everyone is perfect, just the way they are. But at the time, the poster was specifically in response to the horrific images I was seeing every day of innocent children being taken from their parents at the border. So, 100% of the proceeds from sales of this digital download were originally to be donated to Holy Family in Pittsburgh (where many of the detained immigrant children were being housed - yeah, in Pittsburgh, thousands of miles from the border, and their parents) and RAICES, the legal defense fund for detained immigrants. Now, 100% of the proceeds from this poster will be donated to the ACLU, because they have been tasked with the nearly impossible feat of reuniting the remaining 600+ separated children with their families. Even though the story has faded from our newsfeeds as of late, this good work continues - and sadly, probably will for years to come.
Mr. Rogers asked us all to respect children, to protect them, to inspire them. Canned Ham is just doing a little something for some kids who could use a little Mr. Rogers right now...