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'Sesame Street' casts new black muppets to educate children on ‘ABCs of racial literacy’

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Part of the organization's 'Coming Together' initiative

Photo by Zach Pagano/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Sesame Workshop, creator of "Sesame Street," is introducing two new black Muppet characters in order to teach children about "racial literacy."

The move is part of Sesame Workshop's "Coming Together" initiative, which is the organization's "ongoing commitment to racial justice."

What are the details?

A press release from the organization states that a black Muppet father and son, Elijah and Wesley Walker, are joining the show in order to combat racism and, according to The Daily Wire, advance "racial justice" agendas.

The two new Muppets, according to the release, will teach kids about the "ABCs of Racial Literacy," according to Sesame Workshop senior vice president Jeanette Betancourt.

In a statement, Betancourt explained the need for such Muppets.

"At Sesame Workshop, we look at every issue through the lens of a child," she explained. "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. '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."

Kay Wilson Stallings, executive vice president of Creative and Production, Sesame Workshop, added, "Sesame Workshop has always stood for diversity, inclusion, equity, and kindness. As a trusted source for families, we have a responsibility to speak out for racial justice and empower families to have conversations about race and identity with their children at a young age. The work to dismantle racism begins by helping children understand what racism is and how it hurts and impacts people. Sadly, today's announcement comes at a time of racial and social discord when many families are in need of support in talking to their children about racism. We're proud to reaffirm our Coming Together commitment to racial justice, which will be woven into new Sesame Workshop content for years to come."

The release also noted that the new "ABCs of Racial Literacy" are "designed to help all families celebrate their own unique identities, while also providing age-appropriate language and strategies to answer sometimes-tough questions around race and racism."

"In one video featuring two new Muppets, 5-year-old Wes and his father Elijah, Elmo wants to know why Wes's skin is brown," the release continued. "Elijah explains the concept of melanin and that the color of our skin is an important part of who we are. ... In another video coming soon, Rosita's mom and her friend Sofia help Rosita cope with a racist incident in the grocery store, while also celebrating speaking Spanish."

Families can find related resources at SesameWorkshop.org/ComingTogether.

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