Sesame Workshop has announced the passing of Emilio Delgado, who we all know as Luis, one of the friendly faces in the neighborhood of Sesame Street.
Luis was there to show us adults could be kind, curious, considerate and that there were many different kinds of people who were in our communities. My memory was that I thought Luis was "the funny one" of the human cast members. I have read a passage or two about what it meant to have a Latino male featured on television to some of my friends. I believe it. Delgado had one of the few roles on TV in the 1970's for a Latino male defined as a regular, stand-up guy, and not - as was so often the case in network TV then and now - as a negative stereotype.
I'll be honest - I think the goals of Sesame Street worked. To this day, I think of all of the human cast members of Sesame Street as folks I want to run into at the super market. TV is a powerful tool, and the notion of representation is important for everyone, especially for folks who don't see people who look like themselves on television, but it can also be good for other kids to see those positive representations to combat the negative portrayals which are a sad default of mass media.
Here's to an actor who brought a welcome face to the screen for generations of kids, who did it with humor and joy. I'm very sad to hear that Delgado has passed.