By Kid Reporter PEDRO LAHOZ WOLFE, age 11

Marlo Thomas PHOTO: Samuel Lahoz
Marlo Thomas PHOTO: Samuel Lahoz

Marlo Thomas is an actor and activist who has starred in many TV shows, movies and plays since the 1960’s. In 1972, she released a children’s book and television special called Free to Be You and Me, that challenged gender stereotypes. Thomas is an active fundraiser for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and is currently acting on Broadway in the play, ¨Relatively Speaking.¨

IndyKids: What gave you the idea to start the Free to Be project?

Marlo Thomas: My niece was five, and I didn’t like what she was reading. The prince would come and kiss you and your life would change. I thought, she’s got to have a better understanding of what’s possible in the world: a girl can be anything she wants, and a boy can be anything he wants. All girls should know they don’t need to get married to be real women!

How did creating Free to Be affect you?

I realized that what we were doing, all the writers, was rewriting our own childhoods. What would we have liked to have been told? What did we miss?

What do you think about Occupy Wall Street?

I think it’s great. I think the most important thing in this country is to raise our voices and be against what you’re against and for what you’re for. People went to the streets, that’s always the way change happens. It starts from the streets, then it gets into legislation and finally it becomes law. Now people are saying, this is wrong, this is enough. If we stop speaking out against what we think is wrong, then we’re not a democracy.