Sesame Street introduces Ji-Young, a Korean American Muppet in a bid to curb racism
Sesame Street welcomed a new resident yesterday in Ji-Young, a Korean American Muppet who was welcomed to the street by an all-star lineup of celebrity guests.
The episode, See Us Coming Together made its debut on multiple platforms yesterday, celebrating Asian and Pacific Islander communities and the power of belonging, continuing the efforts of Sesame Workshop in its ongoing racial justice initiative.
See Us Coming Together: A Sesame Street Special is available Sesame Street’s YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram channels.
Designed for families to watch together, See Us Coming Together follows the Sesame Street friends through a “Neighbour Day” celebration with new friend Ji-Young—a seven- year-old Korean American character performed by Sesame Workshop puppeteer Kathleen Kim.
Celebrity guests like actors Simu Liu and Anna Cathcart, comic book artist Jim Lee, chef Melissa King, television personality Padma Lakshmi, and athlete Naomi Osaka join in, too, sharing their passions, talents, and cultures with their Sesame Street friends.
The “Neighbour Day” celebration culminates with a new original song, also entitled “See Us Coming Together,” led by Ji-Young and performed by the full cast. A reimagined version of Sesame Street classic, “The People in Your Neighbourhood,” reinforces that children of all backgrounds can be anything they want to be.
Commenting on the episode Kay Wilson Stallings, Sesame Workshop’s Executive Vice President of Creative and Production said it “continues Sesame Street’s proud legacy of representation with an engaging story that encourages empathy and acceptance and uplifts Asian and Pacific Islander communities.”
“See Us Coming Together continues Sesame Street’s proud legacy of representation with an engaging story that encourages empathy and acceptance and uplifts Asian and Pacific Islander communities,” she added.
The special also includes an opportunity for talking about anti-Asian racism.
In an offscreen incident, another child tells Ji-Young to “go home.” This is an example of one kind of discrimination Asian and Pacific Islander people face in western countries where they’re often perceived as “perpetual foreigners.” After the incident, Ji-Young seeks out trusted grown-ups and friends who unite to help her know that she’s exactly where she belongs.
To help guide those conversations, a viewing guide and accompanying activities for adults and children to complete together are available at sesame.org/seeus.
“It’s a powerful thing when kids see people like themselves represented on screen and in stories—it supports them as they figure out who they are and who they want to be,” Alan Muraoka, longtime Sesame Street cast member and co-director of See Us Coming Together said.
For more information—including more viewing guides and activities to complete together please see here.