-Avier Wanjou Brass-
Here is a story that we know will melt your heart and it involves making a huge difference!
Around 300 young girls in Virginia will receive a gift of a Black baby doll on Christmas, thanks to college students who want the dolls to be viewed as more than just a toy.
“I hope that the girls who we are giving these baby dolls to will take away that their power is limitless,” said Caitlyn Russell, 19, a freshman at Mary Baldwin University, in Staunton, Virginia. “I want them to be able to see that they have the power to do whatever they want.”
According to ABC News, for the past 25 years, a group of Black female students at Mary Baldwin University, organized the Annual Black Baby Doll Drive. The drive collects black dolls to give to local girls in the community. Rev. Andrea Cornett-Scott, says the goal of the doll drive is to help provide confidence and self-esteem. Scott is the university’s chief diversity officer who oversees the doll drive.
“We know that there is a clear tie between the achievement gap and self-esteem, especially for Black girls,” said Cornett-Scott. “And oftentimes African-American girls have problems with self-image because they don’t see a lot of images of themselves in the media, and often they struggle with whether or not they’re beautiful.”
“We wanted to make sure we had a program that spoke to their outward and inner beauty, so we decided to do the doll project so they could see themselves in the dolls that they play with,” she said.
The college girls who partake in the doll drive take it very seriously, and it sometimes has competition amongst one another in finding more Black dolls. Some students even argue that it helps with their self-esteem as well. Teaira Jordan, a 20-year-old sophomore, says,
“When you look at dolls and you’re giving these young girls dolls and you’re telling them, ‘Your Black is beautiful, your features are beautiful,’ you have to make sure that you, yourself believe those things,” said Jordan. “So it had me plenty of times looking in the mirror reminding myself, you know what, my lips are beautiful, even though they’re fuller. My nose is beautiful, even though it’s bigger.”
Don’t we all love an inspiring story like this? And the message is clear as day! Representation is very much-needed.