“KLRU programming was essential in forming my art.”

Local artist Hakeem Adewumi has been a creator for a long time, but he started out as another viewer like you.

“I grew up on PBS KIDS,” Hakeem tells KLRU. “I think all my friends did.”

Hakeem also distinctly recalls watching a civil rights program on KLRU that hit him hard, capturing a long history of racism and resistance.

“I really used that moment and experience,” he says. “I carry that with me to curate my art, to start talking about the importance of inclusivity and diversity and race, Black history and Black culture.”

Hakeem’s work has taken him all over the world, tracing the roots and pathways of the African diaspora. Last year, a KLRU documentary team followed Hakeem and collaborating artists for an episode of the original KLRU series Arts In Context.

Almost exactly a year ago, the episode premiered on PBS stations all over the country.

It’s something of a full circle for Hakeem: once, KLRU programming inspired and influenced him as an artist. Now, in turn, his story has become part of KLRU’s mission: to share history, art, culture and community with audiences near and far.

“My art is always with a Black lens, it’s always my perspective. But my goal at the end of the day is to always build community,” Hakeem says. “And that platform has been shared widely on KLRU. I’m super grateful for that.”

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“I am still a PBS Kid.”

As Jessica Michallick recently told KLRU, being visually impaired meant missing out on certain experiences, when she was in school.

“I didn’t get to participate in the science fair,” she recalls. “I didn’t get a chance to do experiments in school.”

It’s no surprise that this memory still stands out to her. One of Jessica’s favorite shows at the time was Bill Nye the Science Guy on her local PBS station.

“[It] just gave me such interest in science. I would do little experiments at home. My parents would always find weird things that I was freezing to see what would happen to them.”

At school, Jessica also experienced bullying from other students, but another PBS favorite, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, provided a sense of acceptance and belonging.

“[Mister Rogers] did a song called ‘It’s You I Like’ . . . I felt like he was really my friend. Like I would communicate with him through the TV.”

Like Jessica, many of us still remember exactly how it felt to be bullied as kids—even decades after the fact. Furthermore, as parents, many of us are now guiding our own children through struggles with bullying.

Jessica is a member of KLRU today because she knows firsthand that PBS provides space for all children to feel care and respect—and to learn how to deal with differences.

Parents can count on KLRU for children’s media that communicates empathy and builds self-esteem—all without advertising. In fact, parents continue to rate PBS KIDS as the most trusted and safe channel for children to watch. Read more about how PBS KIDS benefits children and parents. And PBS KIDS is now available 24/7!

Today, Jessica is all grown up, but she hasn’t forgotten what a difference these programs made in her life.

“I am still a ‘PBS Kid,’ ” she says.

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Do you value KLRU? Find out how to help. http://www.klru.org/value/

We’d love to hear from you! Follow the link and let us know what #YourKLRU and PBS stories are. You might just be our next featured viewer.