More than 60,000 public and private elementary schools are to receive copies this month of a music video called “We Are Family,” as part of a campaign backed by a wide array of corporations and groups to promote diversity and tolerance.
The DVDs, which were scheduled to be sent out free of charge by Federal Express on March 11, feature familiar children’s television characters such as Big Bird, SpongeBob SquarePants, Arthur, and Barney singing the song of the same name.
Accompanying the DVD is a teacher’s guide containing lesson plans developed by the World of Difference Institute of the Anti-Defamation League, a national organization that fights extremism and intolerance.
The video, which was backed by businesses including FedEx Corp., the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, and Scholastic Entertainment, has been criticized by some conservative Christian groups as “pro-homosexual.”
The creator of the video, Niles Rodgers, who wrote the disco hit of the same name, has said the video contains no such language and is intended to promote multiculturalism in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
A version of this article appeared in the March 16, 2005 edition of Education Week