Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational arm of beloved children’s show Sesame Street, debuts a new special on Thursday, Oct. 15. Its purpose? Teaching children how to combat racism.
Following “Coming Together: Standing up to Racism Town Hall,” a joint venture between CNN and Sesame Street that aired in June, “The Power of We: A Sesame Street Special” continues the conversation of race with children and families, this time through songs that empower children to be “color-proud.”
The special, designed to be a “co-viewing” experience between parents and children, features celebrity and musical guests Yara Shahidi, Christopher Jackson, and Andra Day, alongside show favorites Elmo and Abby Cadabby. Two new characters — 6-year-old Gabrielle and 8-year-old Tamir — learn about what it means to be treated unfairly based on the color of one’s fur, and what they can do to make things better.
“Sesame Street has the ability to entertain children while explaining complex issues like no other program and equips families and caregivers with the support they need to have empathetic conversations,” said Kay Wilson Stallings, Executive Vice President of Creative and Production at Sesame Workshop.
Ahead of the special, Sesame Workshop released a conversation guide, coloring pages, and other educational resources to help families to prepare their children to learn about race. The workshop’s website also provides kid-friendly answers to common questions like, “What is racism?” and “Why talk about our feelings?”
Stallings said, “We believe that this moment calls for a direct discussion about racism to help children grasp the issues and teach them that they are never too young to be ‘upstanders’ for themselves, one another, and their communities.”
Viewers can tune in to their local PBS stations or stream the special on HBO Max and PBS Kids.