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Sesame Street wants to continue its efforts with embracing diversity. The long-running children’s show plans to introduce Ji-Young as the latest addition to its family. The television show will debut the new character in its Thanksgiving Day special called, “Seeing Us Coming Together.” Ji-Young is the first Korean American character on the show.
The show first made its debut on November 10, 1969. It didn’t attract many viewers then. However, it’s gained popularity among children and adults alike. The show has stuck to its commitment to allow children to see themselves in the characters.
Who is Ji-Young?
On Thursday, November 25, Sesame Street will welcome Ji-Young. The Korean American is the latest cast member to join the show. Kathleen Kim is a 41-year-old who plays the voice of the 7-year-old. In an interview with CBS, she revealed that she wanted to put as much of her personality into the character.
For example, Ji-Young enjoys playing her electric guitar and skateboarding around the city. She also starts a band with Abby Cadabby, Elmo, and Tamir. Sesame Street viewers will learn about Ji-Young and her Asian and Pacific Islander heritage. It was important for Kim to not make the character “generally pan-Asian.”
“Because that’s something that all Asian Americans have experienced,” Kim said in her interview with CBS News. “They kind of want to lump us into this monolithic ‘Asian,’ so it was very important that she was specifically Korean American, not just like, generically Korean, but she was born here.”
When to watch the Sesame Street Thanksgiving special?
Sesame Street strives to break down stereotypes and embrace diversity. This comes amid the ongoing anti-Asian violence and the hate that’s erupted in the past year. Kim shared her thoughts on the ongoing hate culture. She hopes that her character will normalize seeing Asian Pacific Americans on television.
“I remember like the Atlanta shootings and how terrifying that was for me,” the new Sesame Street cast member said. “My one hope, obviously, is to actually help teach what racism is, help teach kids to be able to recognize it and then speak out against it. But then my other hope for Ji-Young is that she just normalizes seeing different kinds of looking kids on TV.”
This comes after Big Bird announced he was “vaccinated” against COVID-19. He made a special announcement on Twitter. On Saturday, November 13, he revealed that he got the shot that’s now available for American children between the ages of 5 and 11. This is not unusual as Big Bird promoted the importance of immunization in the past.
I got the COVID-19 vaccine today! My wing is feeling a little sore, but it'll give my body an extra protective boost that keeps me and others healthy.
Ms. @EricaRHill even said I’ve been getting vaccines since I was a little bird. I had no idea!
— Big Bird (@BigBird) November 6, 2021
The episode titled “Seeing Us Coming Together” will premiere on Thanksgiving Day. Sesame Street airs on Facebook, Instagram, HBO Max, PBS Kids, and Sesame Street’s official YouTube channel. The Sesame Street Workshop will also host its own live watch party on Twitter on Saturday, November 27 at 3 p.m. ET.