Growing up Puerto Rican in the South Bronx of the 1950s and 60s was tough. Poverty, alcoholism, domestic violence, and being the "invisible minority" were daily occurrences. Yet Sonia Manzano found her refuge in the performing arts, and the young dancer was poised to accept the job of a lifetime when the Children's Television Workshop cast her as Maria on the now-acclaimed Sesame Street children's program. After four decades of performing on PBS, author Manzano reflects on the importance of children of color seeing themselves represented in the media--both on the stage and behind the camera.

“My time spent with the Feel Like You Belong show was not only fun and engaging, but also important. The topics that were covered are really close to my heart, and the message that they bring to the world is absolutely essential.” – Richard Blanco, Inaugural Poet, Obama 2nd Inauguration (photo credit: ew.com)

“My time spent with the Feel Like You Belong show was not only fun and engaging, but also important. The topics that were covered are really close to my heart, and the message that they bring to the world is absolutely essential.”

– Richard Blanco, Inaugural Poet, Obama 2nd Inauguration (photo credit: ew.com)

FeelLikeYouBelong.com archives all our TV programming along with acculturation tips, language exercises, and resources—all geared to connecting newcomers and making them feel welcome, all the while giving U.S. natives fascinating insights into their own culture and language.

Please use the form on our Contact page to submit interview requests or make suggestions for future shows.

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About Alan

Alan Headbloom is an interculturalist and applied linguist building international bridges across a variety of industries. He gives workshops and presentations on global communication as well as domestic HR issues such as unconscious bias and microaggressions in the workplace.

Learn more about Alan here, and on his website: headbloom.com.

Follow Alan on Twitter: @headbloom

Share your story of adaptation and belonging by using the form provided on the Contact page. 




COMING NEXT

Ace Marasigan: I want my son to have a city to grow up in that he's proud of belonging to.

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As a teenage immigrant, Ace Marasigan wanted no part of the United States. His older brothers were back in his native Philippines, as was the security of home, culture, and language. Yet he persisted, with the help of the local Filipino community. He formed a rock band and focused on making Grand Rapids his new home. Fast forward to today: Ace is the downtown manager of Old National Bank, where he has the time to look out onto his city and dream of a second successful Downtown Asian Festival. Just the kind of belonging he wants to create for his son.