Please join us for the San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program’s ethnic doll drive- every girl deserves to have a doll that looks like them December 8, 2015 Where: The Ave Bar / 1607 Ocean Ave, San Francisco, ca 94112 Time: 4 pm to 8 pm
Twenty four years ago I was blessed with a beautiful daughter named Monique. Monique had big brown eyes, the cutest giggle, and beautiful brown skin. Monique is bi-racial, half Caucasian, and half African American. We are native San Franciscans, and live in one of the most diverse cities. In 1992 I had a second birthday party for Monique. I remember Monique being as excited as she tore wrapping paper off of her gifts. Everything was going great that day, until Monique opened her last gift. Inside the box was a doll, with red ribbons in her hair, and a glamorous satin red dress. The doll looked like it cost quite a bit of money, it was perfect; except for one thing. As Monique held her doll up, my mouth dropped open. The lady who gave my daughter this doll had altered the original doll, and painted the white dolls face black. It was not a professional paint job, yet a splotched coat of black paint over the dolls face. I looked at the lady who gave her the doll, and she proclaimed proudly, “I couldn’t find any black dolls, so I wanted to get a doll that looked like your daughter so I painted the dolls face to look like your daughter. “ I was not okay with this at all. Since that day I have made it my mission to never have another child of color receive a doll that does not resemble them. Not long after that doll incident I started volunteering for the San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program. I made it my mission to get dolls of color donated, and try to explain to people how important diversity and culture plays in our children’s lives as they grow up. Some people might argue that color should not matter. They are right, in a perfect world it should not matter. We have come a long way since 1992 with dolls of color being sold at toy stores. The average person who walks into a store that sells toys will be able to find an ethnic doll; they might even be able to find ten dolls of color. Sounds great right? Wrong, although this is an improvement it is not enough. I have had to go from San Francisco to San Jose buying out all ten ethnic dolls in each store so I can get enough for the kids we give toys to. This adventure can take me days to finish. I always ask the store managers why they don’t buy more ethnic dolls. One manager told me that there was no need to do that since mostly white dolls sold. Over the past few years I have started Ethnic Doll Drives, and asked the public to help us provide dolls of color for kids. This year we are trying to donate over 400 dolls of color to the African American Art, and Culture Complex for their annual holiday party for 800 kids. Most kids come from low-income households, and the gifts they receive might be the only gift they get all year. Also, starting November 30th, the Toy Program on Jerrold Ave in SF; starts giving toys to 200 families every day. It is a must that we are able to give these kids dolls that represent who they are. I am asking for the public’s help in either donating a doll of color to 2225 Jerrold Ave SF, or donating to us online so I can purchase dolls. My dream is I walk into the Toy Program one day, and in front of me are 1000 dolls of every color. So until that happens; I have made it my mission to collect dolls of color. Could you please help us out? You can also donate to www.sffirefighterstoys.org This year I decided to name this doll drive after my daughter Monique, because I never ever want another child to open a gift with a “black face” painted on a white doll. So in honor of Monique and every other child of color; could you please be part of our solution. From my heart to yours, help us make a difference.
Jill Nicole Peeler/SF Fire Fighters Toy Program Event Coordinator, and Monique Wells’s mom.
Photo of Jill Peeler/1991 with her daughter Monique Wells
Monique Wells at 23 years old says, “Every girl deserves to have a doll that looks like them.” This doll drive is in honor of “Monique, and her experience with dolls as a child.” Monique is a volunteer at the SF Firefighters Toy Program, and is asking the public to please donate a ethnic doll for the Toy Drive. People can also donate online www.sffirefighterstoys.org or the go fund me account https://www.gofundme.com/ethnicdollddrive