March 22

Sesame Street supports diversity and inclusion with the introduction of Julia, a muppet with Autism

Last week, 60 minutes reported on Sesame Streets newest muppet, Julia.

Excerpts:

“Sesame Street” has always based its characters and content on extensive research.  They regularly bring in educators and child psychologists. In the case of Julia, they also worked with autism organizations to decide which characteristics she should have and how best to normalize autism for all children.

It’s tricky because autism is not one thing, because it is different for every single person who has autism. There is an expression that goes, “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism,” says writer Christine Ferraro.

And of course every Muppet needs a puppeteer.  But not every puppeteer has the connection Stacey Gordon does to the role. Gordon is the mother of a son with autism.

Stacey Gordon: Had my son’s friends been exposed to his behaviors through something that they had seen on TV before they experienced them in the classroom, they might not have been frightened. They might not have been worried when he cried. They would have known that he plays in a different way and that that’s OK.

November 27

Colleges and universities begin looking at, and making amends for, their ties to racism and slavery

screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-1-49-23-pmIn the recent past, a number of schools, including but not limited to, Harvard, Brown, Princeton and the University of North Carolina have begun making reparations for their ties to racism and slavery.

Of most recent note, Georgetown is making reparations for the University debts that were paid off through the sale of slaves, and just last week Rutgers published a report  detailing how some of the university’s most prominent figures participated in the slave trade, and how Rutgers benefited from the displacement of Native Americans from their lands.

May the conversations stay honest and courageous, and the amends authentic and long lasting.

 

http://www.wnyc.org/story/rutgers-university-recognizes-historical-ties-racism-and-slavery-new-report/

http://www.wnyc.org/story/georgetown-university-makes-amends-slavery/