Sesame Street wants to teach children more about race and racism. That’s why the series just introduced two new Black muppets—Wes and Elijah—as part of an effort to help children understand racial literacy.
Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind the hit children’s show, just launched the “ABCs of Racial Literacy” as a part of Coming Together—the organization’s ongoing commitment to racial justice. The program, which was announced in a press release on Tuesday, March 23, features a variety of resources, available online for free, to help teach children about racial identity.
“All kids need a strong individual and group identity, but racism hurts the healthy development of both,” the program’s website reads. “Racism hurts our entire society. Whether you and the children in your care are directly affected by racism or you’re allies of those who are, engaging honestly and directly with little ones is the beginning of building racial literacy (the skills needed to talk thoughtfully about race and to identify and respond to racism).”
In addition to a press release, we also got a first video featuring the two new muppets speaking with Elmo. During the two minutes, Elijah explains that "the color of our skin is an important part of who we are.”
“At Sesame Workshop, we look at every issue through the lens of a child. Children are not colorblind—not only do they first notice differences in race in infancy, but they also start forming their own sense of identity at a very young age,” said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President, Sesame Workshop in the release. “‘The ABCs of Racial Literacy’ is designed to foster open, age-appropriate conversations among families and support them in building racial literacy. By encouraging these much-needed conversations through Coming Together, we can help children build a positive sense of identity and value the identities of others.”
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