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Sesame Street: Bringin’ in the Diversity

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by Danielle Lyons


Our beloved childhood classic has been making some long overdue additions to their cast of characters in order to increase their diversity. Their first addition was a character named Julia, a child with Autism. Dr. Jeanette Betancourt says,

“Children with autism are five times more likely to get bullied, and with one in 68 children having autism, that’s a lot of bullying.”

In her story book introduction she goes on to explain to other characters that she loves to play, but she just plays differently than other kids. The creators are hoping to bring an awareness and understanding of person’s with Autism. Their other new addition is Zari, a six year old girl from Afghanistan. She’s often described as, eager, bright and passionate about women’s empowerment. Zari is a collaboration between Sesame Workshop and the Afghan education ministry. Sherrie Westin says,

“The exciting part about Zari is that she is modelling for young girls that it is wonderful to go to school and that it’s OK to dream about having a career.”