For years, Elmo and his buddies have been close friends to kids around the world. Now, as the U.S. struggles with stories of migrant families being separated at the border with Mexico, the residents of Sesame Street are being deployed again.
“We are already doing that,” Sherrie Westin, president of global impact and philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization that produces Sesame Street, said Sunday at the Spotlight Health Festival, which is cohosted by The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic.
Westin said her organization has worked for years with immigrant communities and organizations in the U.S. to “help them help their children feel safe” through the use of bilingual resources. And because many poor immigrants are in the country illegally, Westin said the organization is “often doing its work under the radar because the families are worried about having attention called to them.”
Since reports emerged of about 2,000 children being separated from their parents—the Trump administration has since reversed its policy and said it will reunite families—Sesame Workshop has been in talks with groups like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the public-health philanthropy, Catholic Charities USA, and other partners to provide toolkits for caregivers who are taking care of the children. Many of these children are likely to be traumatized by the experience of fleeing their home countries in Central America, and the reception they have received in the U.S.