Sesame Street is introducing two new characters to its cast of Muppets with the intention of teaching children “racial literacy.”
Sesame Workshop, the creator of the show, announced last week its plans to add a new Black father and son duo, Elijah and Wesley Walker, to the show. The effort is part of a broader move by the Sesame Workshop to advance “racial justice” and fight against racism.
Both Muppets are part of the organization’s “Coming Together” initiative, the company announced.
“Coming Together is rooted in extensive research and consultation with experts to develop a groundbreaking Racial Justice educational framework and curriculum for young children,” states the press release.
“Like the science-based whole-child model that Sesame Street is known for, this framework will help guide and inform the creation of new Sesame Workshop content going forward — including future seasons of Sesame Street,” it adds. “Today’s announcement, which is part of the Sesame Street in Communities initiative, builds on recent efforts focused on tackling racism and its impact on children, including The Power of We: A Sesame Street Special, the CNN Town Hall Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism, and related short-form content.”
“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 press 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,” she said.
Sesame Workshop initiative is part of a larger effort to deliver “anti-racist” training for children and educators. It is one of dozens of ongoing programs to push social justice education in the United States.
In February, Rebel News reported that a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-backed effort called a “Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction” is designed to serve as a toolkit for educators “as they navigate the individual and collective journey from equity to anti-racism.