American Girl announced it would be discontinuing the four ‘friend’ dolls in their popular line of historical dolls and story books as part of the rebranding of the collection. Although American Girl has “archived” eleven historical dolls since 2008, the latest group being retired in the fall includes Chinese-American Ivy Ling, the only Asian doll in the historical series.

Now even Forbes is asking why American Girl isn’t telling our American Girl stories. If you have an American Girl story to tell about a woman or girl of color—yours, your family member’s, your hero’s—tell it with us to show American Girl just how much history they’re missing.

My mother is an American girl, even if she is born in Laos and grew up selling soda and papaya salad in the refugee camps.  America touched her life.  Her oldest brothers fiought under General Vang Pao and the Secret Guerilla Units.  Some of her brother taught English in the Ban Vinai Refugee Camp.  She knew America even before she immigrated to Manitowac, Wisconsin in December of 1979.  While she went to school in a small all-white town, her ESL teachers projected their voices to the students of Hmong descendants, as if they were deaf.  From this experience, my mother has now been serving the Milwaukee Public Schools as an English as a Second Language instructor.

My mom applied to over 30+ teaching jobs. She sought position in Wausau/Eau Claire/Madison/Sheboygan School districts, all were predominantly White. She got rejected because her employers did not want a “broken English” instructor. No matter how well she taught and that language is not one type, they declined her. She never gave up. One factor for her career was because other womyn of color in the ESL department of MPS fought for affirmative action, mom was hired. And to this day, mom shares her struggles for survival. Her face lights up when she meets her former students and their families anywhere. Her life warms up when students and their families welcome her to their celebrations. Most of her students say they would like to become teachers someday. This is why mom won’t retire even after she has retired. She’ll continue to teach and learn.

- Jackie

As a Hmong refugee, my mother Youa Lo Her turned her wartime struggles into success and joy in this country. She was a teenaged nurse in a Laotian mountain hospital during the Vietnam and Secret Wars. Her nimble hands saved innumerable soldiers. When she arrived in the United States as a refugee, she and my father were some of the very first Hmong refugees to settle in Wisconsin. She built an American life full of hope for a bright future, and the desire for health and happiness for her children. She is an inspiration to every girl.

– PaKou, 37 years old

Anna May Wong was the first Asian-American celebrity. There were other Asian-American film stars, but Anna May was the first Asian-American actress to be followed and worshiped by the public. A third generation Chinese-American, Wong got her start as a mode at age ten. At age 14, she got her first film role in The Red Lantern. She starred in many films and destroyed the “submissive Asian woman” stereotype in her personal life with her sass and independence. She was regarded as one of the most beautiful stars of the time, but she proved that she had talent as well as looks. Wong starred in a European operetta for 10 months.While abroad, she translated Chinese poetry to English for publication, showing off her language skills to the public, as she was fluent in in French, German, Chinese and English. After proving that she was more than just a pretty face, Wong returned to the United States in 1930 and was offered a role in Edgar Wallace’s On the Spot. She accepted the role and starred on Broadway while simultaneously making movies such as King of Chinatown, Daughter of Shanghai, and the very popular Shanghai Express.

Anna May Wong is an important woman in film history, as well as Asian-American history. This American Girl deserves recognition!

"My name is Yoo Ah-Reum and I’m an American girl. I was adopted from Wondang-eup in South Korea, while my brother was adopted from Laos. Being adopted and an orphan, it’s extremely important to have others to look up to while growing up who share your circumstances, since mainstream media never brings up orphaned and/or adopted characters realistically nor positively. Every day I was teased and bullied for my ‘otherness’ or the fact that my adoptive parents weren’t my ‘real parents’. I’m currently 29 and an aspiring writer, so I hope that my voice can be a source of comfort to other Korean girls who feel as though their identities don’t matter in American history and culture. KADs have their own voice and network to support each other, we just need to make our presence known together."
- 유아름

Maya Lin is an influential Asian American Woman who rose to fame in 1981 when she won the winning design for the Vietnam War memorial. She continues to design bold works and her creations can be seen in tons of cities around the nation. As an amateur architect she has inspired me to be bold and and to chase my dreams. To change what is possible and to defy all boundaries to achieve my goals. 

My name is Grace and I am an American Girl. This is a picture of me as a child in the 1970s. When I was growing up, Grace was not a common name for little girls… except for Asian American girls. We were the daughters of parents who came to the United States after the Immigration Act of 1965, which lifted stringent quotas on entry from Asia and allowed an influx of highly skilled workers . Instead of living in Chinatowns, we settled in university towns and later suburbs, often scattered around the country.  
- Grace

Amy Chow is the first Asian American to win an Olympic gymnastics medal.  Her talents include being an accomplished pianist, a diver, and high jumper.  Amy is not only a great athlete and musician but she is also really smart.  She graduated from Stanford medical school and is a pediatrician.  Amy is a great example of hard work and perseverance.  She inspires me to be the best I can be and that I can be a gifted gymnast and smart.  If I work hard, there is nothing I can’t achieve.
- Ayden, 10 years old

I met Cheng Imm Tan back in the mid-1990s in Boston. She grew up in a traditional Chinese family in Malaysia, and came to the US to study. She is a Unitarian Universalist Minister, and founded a shelter for battered Asian women. She is a dynamic and fearless woman who taught me (and everyone else) so much about the dynamics of domestic violence, and the particular issues we need to be aware of in dealing with women (and men) of various cultures. Cheng Imm later worked for the office of the Mayor of Boston. One hundred words is not enough to describe her.
- Suzanne

My daughter Molly inspires me every day. Molly was born in China and joined our family through adoption when she was 10 months old. She is now 8 years old. She loves her gap tooth grin that is now filling in with beautiful, big, crooked, shiny white teeth. She is equally proud her Chinese heritage as she is of being American. She loves her tan skin and her silky hair that is “not black, but the darkest of dark browns.” She spells like a champ, devours books, swims like a fish, plays teacher, runs around the tennis court with a huge grin, and spends more time upside down in a handstand than she does on her feet. She never ceases to amaze me. Her story is one worth sharing. Please consider telling the story of a child like my daughter, one of the tens of thousands Asian adoptees. Thank you!
Britt

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