It’s a sunny day on Sesame Street.
The long-running children’s television show is getting its first Asian American muppet. Ji-Young will be introduced in a Thanksgiving special, See Us Coming Together: A Sesame Street Special, reports the Journal.
The character is Korean American and enjoys skateboarding and playing guitar.
Puppeteer Kathleen Kim will play Ji-Young.
“I think I’m focusing on myself to teach these lessons and become this representative I didn’t have when I was a kid,” Kim said to the Ohio News Times.
The character is the result of discussions inspired by the rise of anti-Asian hate and the death of George Floyd.
Kay Wilson Stallings is the president of the non-profit behind the show, Sesame Workshop. Stallings said they intentionally did not make Ji-Young “generally pan-Asian.”
“That’s what every Asian American has experienced,” Stallings said.
According to the Journal, actor Simu Liu and tennis great Naomi Osaka will appear in the Thanksgiving special on HBO Max.
In the episode, Ji-Young becomes upset when someone tells her “to go back home.” However, she feels better after other residents and guests on Sesame Street tell her she does belong.
“I remember like the Atlanta shootings and how terrifying that was for me,” Kim 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.”
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