Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind “Sesame Street,” with the support of insurer USAA, has released a new collection of resources to help military and veteran families tap into the diversity of the military community to start conversations about race with children. Part of Sesame Workshop’s ongoing Coming Together initiative for racial literacy, these new resources cover building a positive sense of identity and being an upstander (active advocate). The resources also encourage the practice of self-care – a coping strategy for those affected by racism.
“Military and veteran families practice service in everything they do, and they live their lives with purpose – values that help them confront injustices like racism,” says Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president, U.S. social impact, Sesame Workshop. “In a military kid’s world, it’s common to see people of all races and backgrounds living, working and playing together. Military parents and caregivers can help their children become good citizens of the world by using that unique opportunity to talk openly about racism and celebrate who they are inside and out.”
Available in English and Spanish on SesameStreetinCommunities.org, the new resources aim to help military and veteran families develop a shared vocabulary about race that young children can understand – with a little help from Elmo, Rosita and new friends Wes and Elijah. Highlights include a music video, an interactive game, printable family activities and articles for adults on how to start these conversations on inclusivity. In addition to resources developed in both English and Spanish, Sesame Workshop also debuted a video featuring First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and “Sesame Street’s” Rosita.
Sesame Workshop will also partner with national military organizations to utilize these resources in their work supporting the conversation about race, identity and racial literacy for military families.
Celebrating its 15th anniversary in September, “Sesame Street” for Military Families aims to help military and veteran families tackle big topics. In 2006, Sesame Workshop reported for duty with a multimedia initiative that equipped families with child-friendly tools to tackle challenges of military life including deployments, homecomings and even grief and loss. Since then, “Sesame Street” for Military Families has grown to include videos, storybooks and activities on topics like relocation, transitioning from military to civilian life, long-term family caregiving and staying healthy together – plus “Sesame Street”/USO family tours, television specials, “Sesame Rooms” in military spaces and more. All the resources are free to families and providers in English and Spanish. Visit sesamestreetformilitaryfamilies.org and ssic.org/veterans to learn more.