Now here’s a petition we can get behind! 10-year-old Melissa Shang, along with her older sister (Huffington Post’s YingYing Shang), is asking for American Girl to release a differently abled doll. Melissa, who has a form of muscular dystrophy, has been an avid fan of the dolls for years. Her favorite collection of dolls are the Girl of the Year dolls. “Every year,” Melissa wrote, “American Girl introduces a brand-new character with a story about finding success in the face of challenges today…. Girls of the Year have helped me understand how it feels to be someone else.”
The Girls of the Year hail from different locations, but they all share the common goal of overcoming adversity. For example, 2013’s Girl of the Year Saige organizes a fundraiser after learning that, due to budget cuts, art classes would no longer be held at her school. Girls of the Year are meant to inspire and teach the young girls that play with them.
“However,” Melissa explained, “none of the American Girl Girls of the Year are like me. None of them have a disability.” Melissa declares that if American Girl truly aims to represent all young girls they need to have a differently abled American Girl.
We’re with her and so are nearly 3,000 other people! Watch Melissa’s video below and sign her petition here.