October Films to Watch: Diversity Awareness Month

By world channel

Films that open our eyes to diversity by examining awareness and reform around disabilities, gender, orientation and mental health.

Over the last year, discussions surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) have made their way through colleges and universities, public and private companies and within governments, leading to initiatives that seek to better understand and accommodate the great variety of human experiences. Ability in the workplace is an area that is receiving a new level of attention as organizations and employers work to defend equity and inclusion, and is just one of the many perspectives we examine in October for Diversity Awareness Month.

As social and political tensions flare up around the world, now more than ever it is critical to explore and embrace humanity’s differences. Each of the films offered on WORLD highlight our individual differences, reminding us of the very vulnerable, yet rewarding, human experience. 

BIPOC mental health advocates and practitioners from every corner of the U.S. work to dismantle the industry’s systemic inequality; two transgender best friends support one another over a lifetime; a breast cancer survivor learns that real love is about liking someone just the way they are; and an Olympic ski jumper whose physical ability was changed in a moment never loses his spirit. 

While adding new voices to the conversations around diversity, especially disability awareness, in October, WORLD will continue to amplify the voices of the Latinx community this month with our Hispanic Heritage Month Viewer’s Guide.

Discuss and engage with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by using the hashtag #DiversityAwareness and tagging us @worldchannel. Subscribe to our newsletter and YouTube for more features including events and interviews.



Muhammad Ali
Oct. 3 on TV | Available now on the PBS app

Watch the story of one of the most indelible figures of the 20th century, a three-time heavyweight boxing champion who captivated millions of fans across the world with his mesmerizing combination of speed, grace and power in the ring, and charm and playful boasting outside of it. Ali insisted on being himself unconditionally and became a global icon and inspiration to people everywhere.

The Good Road
Mondays on TV beginning Oct. 4

Hosts Earl Bridges and Craig Martin – longtime philanthropy veterans, globetrotters and best friends – trek around the world to meet people who are making a difference in their communities. In Season 2, they explore places close to home, like Virginia, South Carolina and Puerto Rico, and foreign destinations such as India and the Burmese border where the duo discovers inspiring change-makers and the limitless power of good.

Five Years North | America ReFramed
Oct. 5 on TV, online & the PBS app

The story of Luis, an undocumented Guatemalan boy who arrives in New York City with little support and many responsibilities, and Judy, a veteran ICE agent who must weigh the human cost of her work. More Latinx films in our Hispanic Heritage Month Viewer’s Guide.

Sundays on TV, online & the PBS app beginning Oct. 10

Articulate explores how creative thinking shapes our world, offering a visually stimulating, never-ordinary take on classical, contemporary, and popular art forms. Season 8 guests include Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau, singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant, National Book Award-winning author Joyce Carol Oates, and New York Philharmonic Principal Clarinettist Anthony McGill.

Newsworthy | Stories from the Stage
Oct. 18 on TV, online and on the FacebookYouTubePBS app

The news often grabs our attention. But sometimes the story behind it is as interesting as the headlines. Tonight’s tellers share how making the news changed their lives. Phillip Martin navigates Civil Rights strife in Boston, Anne Stuart handles a local news phone line as Nixon’s White House collapses, and Jeff Howe gives a disastrous speech —with a very influential guest in the audience.

Deej | America ReFramed
Oct. 19 on TV, online & the PBS app

The coming-of-age story of DJ Savarese, a gifted writer and advocate for non-speaking autistics once considered a “profoundly disabled” foster kid. Deej’s story reveals what it takes to make the goals of “inclusion” and “disability rights” a reality.

Resilience | Stories from the Stage
Oct. 25 on TV, online and on the FacebookYouTubePBS app

Houston is the largest city in Texas —and the nation’s most ethnically diverse metropolitan area. As tonight’s stories will show, it’s also a city whose people have learned the fine art of resilience. Sneha Desai’s travels a difficult road from sickness to health. Actors and improv turn Brendan Bourque-Sheil’s playwriting lemon into lemonade. And Ebony Stewart learns the secret to taming her stress.

Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America | Doc World
Oct. 31 on TV | Available on PBS Passport beginning Oct. 1

In their home countries, four LGBTQ+ people were targets of death threats, harassment and discrimination because of who they are, who they love. They are among the many LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seekers who have fled persecution to resettle in the U.S. But as leadership continues to restrict the flow of refugees, they become desperate to find a safe place to call home.


Broken Heart Land | America ReFramed
Available Oct. 8 through Nov. 30 online & on the PBS app

After their son Zack, a gay teen, takes his own life, his parents – both conservative Republicans and military veterans from Norman, Oklahoma – are forced to reconcile their own social and political beliefs with their son's death.

Jack & Yaya | America ReFramed
Available online & on the PBS app

Follow two best friends for a year and explore their unique, 30-year relationship, drawing on home videos and conversations with their eclectic cast of friends and family.

Decolonizing Mental Health
Available online, on YouTube & on the PBS app

As part of PBS's Mysteries of Mental Illness, examine the obstacles that systemic inequality imparts on the mental health industry, preventing BIPOC and other marginalized communities from receiving appropriate treatment.

Sands of Silence: Waves of Courage | Doc World 
Available on PBS PassportPrime Video and iTunes

A quest to expose sexual exploitation and trafficking leads filmmaker Chelo Alvarez-Stehle to where her childhood ended and family secrets began. Documenting the transformation of a survivor, Chelo undertakes a journey of healing, setting out to shatter the silence about sexual abuse in her life.

Up Close and Personal | Stories from the Stage
Available online and on the FacebookYouTubePBS app

Everyone has their own personal space...but sometimes, we have to share it. Kurt Mullen finds space at a premium, even on the Appalachian Trail; Matthew Shifrin’s blindness creates a unique hands-on museum tour, and Meghann Perry connects with a friend despite her solitary confinement.

Missed Connections | Stories from the Stage: The Podcast
Subscribe & download on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Pocket Casts

A missed connection doesn't necessarily mean loss; it could be a chance for redemption. While dating after having a mastectomy, Musu-Kulla Massaquoi finds a friend who likes her the way she is.

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