'Sesame Street' new characters introduced to help teach children about race, racism

Coming Together is part of Sesame Workshop's ongoing commitment to racial justice
NEW YORK -- Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind "Sesame Street," is releasing new resources to support families in talking to their children about race and racism.

The "ABCs of Racial Literacy" is part of Coming Together, Sesame Workshop's ongoing commitment to racial justice. Designed to provide families with the tools they need to build racial literacy, to have open conversations with young children, to engage allies and advocates to become upstanders against racism, and more, Coming Together includes a racial justice educational framework, ongoing research and a rolling release of new content on SesameWorkshop.org/ComingTogether, the organization said Tuesday.

Coming Together is rooted in extensive research and consultation with experts to develop a Racial Justice educational framework and curriculum for young children. 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," the organization said.

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"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 Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president of Sesame Workshop. "'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."

The new resources 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, the organization said.

In a new music video, the "Sesame Street" Muppets celebrate their own unique identities in the song, "Giant." 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. Additional resources include videos featuring real families talking about their experiences, activities for families to do together and talking points and conversation starters for families.

In one video featuring two new Muppets, 5-year-old Wes and his father Elijah, Elmo wants to know why Wes' skin is brown. Elijah explains the concept of melanin and that the color of our skin is an important part of who we are.

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit media and educational organization behind "Sesame Street," the television show that has been reaching children since 1969.
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