Toy company Mattel is honoring those who made a lasting impact on their communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by giving them their very own Barbie dolls. The company recently announced new Barbie dolls in honor of Drs. Chika Stacy Oriuwa and Jacqueline Goes de Jesus. The dolls are an extension of Mattel’s #ThanYouHeroes program, which began last year as a way to honor those helping to fight the virus.
Dr. Oriuwa is a 27-year-old psychiatry resident at the University of Toronto. During the pandemic, she used her platform to speak out about systemic racism in healthcare and the rise of anti-Black racism on online platforms. Oriuwa often used poetry as a medium to discuss these complex topics and shared resources online for those interested in educating themselves about racism.
Under one clip of a performance of her poem SKIN, Oriuwa wrote, “This poem is a eulogy. A protest. An act of solidarity. It is resistance. It is an inter-generational outcry. A window into my soul. It is the most vulnerable thing I have put forth into the world. I hope you enjoy this and feel compelled to reflect, mobilize, learn, and take action.”
Oriuwa took to social media to share the good news of her honor, saying how unbelievable it was to have a doll made in her likeness.
“It’s surreal to think that I was once playing with my Barbie dolls and dressing them up like doctors, poets and performers and imagining that I could be those things one day – and now I am,” she said.
Dr. Goes de Jesus also was honored with a Mattel Barbie. She is a biomedical researcher and post-doctoral fellow for the CADDE Project. According to a message on the website, “CADDE brings together multidisciplinary teams across Brazil and the UK to address critical questions in arbovirus epidemiology and public health in Brazil.” Goes de Jesus was responsible for leading the sequencing of the genome of a COVID-19 variant in Brazil.
The women join several heroes honored via Mattel’s “Play it Forward” platform, including Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at Oxford University and one of the co-creators of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Along with Amy O’Sullivan, RN, an emergency room nurse in Brooklyn who treated one of the first COVID-19 patients in the borough; Dr. Audrey Sue Cruz, a Vegas internal medicine physician who worked with other Asian American physicians to fight racial bias and discrimination; and Dr. Kirby White, a general practitioner who co-founded Gowns for Doctors to address the nationwide shortage of PPE in Australia.
“We are proud to use our global platform to share the incredible stories of resilience and determination of these six real-life heroes during such a challenging time. By elevating their leadership and accomplishments through Barbie, we hope to inspire the next generation of heroes to continue believing they can be anything,” said Lisa McKnight, senior VP and global head of Barbie & Dolls, Mattel.
For each eligible Barbie doctor, nurse, and paramedic doll sold at Target, Mattel will donate $5 to the First Responders Children’s Foundation, whose mission is to provide financial support to children who’ve lost a parent in the line of duty.
News Source: BOTWC