Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY
Published 12:01 a.m. ET June 5, 2020
Media icon Oprah Winfrey has announced she’ll give grants to organizations helping underserved communities in cities she’s lived in – Chicago; Baltimore; Nashville, Tennessee; Milwaukee; and Kosciusko, Mississippi, where she was born.(May 20)
Oprah Winfrey has announced plans to host a two-night special looking at the country’s civil unrest following the death of George Floyd with “OWN Spotlight: Where Do We Go From Here?” on June 9 and 10.
The special will feature Winfrey speaking with black thought leaders, activists and artists on the country’s direction.
“I’ve been having private conversations with friends and thought leaders about what’s next and where we go from here,” Winfrey said in a release Thursday. “I thought it would be both of interest and service to bring their ideas, concerns and comments into a national spotlight.”
Guests will include politician Stacey Abrams, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, director Ava DuVernay, “Selma” actor David Oyelowo, Color of Change founder Rashad Robinson; and NAACP national board member Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II.
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The special will air on OWN and all of Discovery’s 18 networks, will stream for free on the Watch OWN and Discovery Family apps, as well as OWN’s YouTube, Facebook and Instagram pages.
Winfrey tweeted emotional thoughts in the aftermath of Floyd’s death in police custody after white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck.
“I’ve been trying to process what can be said or heard in this moment. I haven’t been able to get the image of the knee on his neck out of my head. It’s there every morning when I rise and when I go through the ordinary duties of the day,” Winfrey wrote. “While pouring coffee, lacing my shoes, and taking a breath, I think: He doesn’t get to do this. And now the video from the other angle of the two officers pinning him down. My heart sinks even deeper.”
Winfrey continued: “His family and friends say he was a gentle giant. His death has now shown us he had a giant soul. If the largeness of a soul is determined by its sphere of influence, George Floyd is a Mighty soul. #GeorgeFloyd: We speak your name. But this time we will not let your name be just a hashtag. Your spirit is lifted by the cries of all of us who call for justice in your name!”
And this weekend, CNN and “Sesame Street” will combine forces to host a second town hall to address racism with the 60-minute special “Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism. A CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Kids and Families,” airing June 6 (10 a.m. ET/7 PT).
Big Bird will join CNN commentator Van Jones, CNN anchor and national correspondent Erica Hill in moderating the event, featuring other “Sesame Street” characters talking to kids about racism, the recent nationwide protests, embracing diversity and being more empathetic and understanding.
The first CNN “Sesame Street” town hall in April addressed the coronavirus pandemic.
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