There are little black girls all over the world growing up in poverty, exposed to discrimination, and their vision of the world is quite parochial and dull. But, with the help of special teachers that sacrifice to inspire their students, there is at least one mind changed every day.
Rob Robinson is a fifth grade special education teacher at Brooklyn’s PS 28, where 80 percent of the student body comes from a low income family and qualify for free lunch. One day, Robinson overheard some girls in his class talking about the “American Girl” doll collection–which he knew nothing about–and how there was an American Girl store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan that one of the girls explained in their conversation, “I know about this place. Only white girls can go there.”
But, again, not knowing anything about the American Girl doll collection, Robinson was motivated to take these girls out and show them that they could go anywhere in the world they wanted. But once he found out that the dolls were $100 and the store offered other luxury services where they could “buy matching clothes for her and the doll and visit the salon where both can get their ears pierced and hair styled,” he realized the issue with his students.
But even after all of the sticker shock, he went full steam ahead and created a page called “21 Girls Of Color To American Girl” for donations to not only give the girls the opportunity to receive the coveted dolls, but to refresh their thinking and realize that there are no barriers to anything they want to do or places they want to go.
“When they walked into the American girl place, they lost their minds,” says Robinson. “They walked differently, their shoulders were squared, and it was amazing to see that. And they believed they belonged there or anywhere else.”
In a matter of five weeks, Robinson had raised $14,000! With the money, Robinson pulled out the stops to give them a memorable experience. According to the MSNBC report:
“He provided stylists to fix the girls hair and nails, a limo ride to and from the store, and a photo shoot for them. Each girl received a doll, an American Girl t-shirt, a bag, her picture on the American girl magazine, breakfast, and private dining at the café at the store.”
Bravo to Rob Robinson! It’s Rob Robinson Day!!
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