Two new black Muppets, a father and son, will be added to "Sesame Street" in an effort to teach children how to understand racial literacy.
Wes and Elijah were introduced in a short video created by the nonprofit educational organization Sesame Workshop, in which Elijah explains to Elmo what melanin is and how "the color of our skin is an important part of who we are."
Sesame Workshop has also released a music video to the song "Giant" where the "Sesame Street" Muppets are seen celebrating their "own unique identities." Another video shows the Muppets helping Spanish-speaking Rosita cope after a racist incident.
"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 Sesame Workshop's Senior Vice President Jeanette Betancourt. "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."
A recent study commissioned by Sesame Workshop found that racism was "top of mind for nearly half the children surveyed" and the majority of parents said they were comfortable with their children learning about race and racism through media, books, or school.
"Sesame Workshop has always stood for diversity, inclusion, equity and kindness," said Kay Wilson Stallings, Sesame Workshop executive vice president of creative and production. "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."