03/07/2013 08:02 am ET

Pretty Brown Girl Movement: Changing Girls One Doll At A Time

She had blonde hair, fair skin and blue eyes. She looked nothing like little Aliya and Laila Crowley, who were affectionately called “pretty brown girls” since birth by their father Corey. Still, the then five-year-old and six-year-old sisters and their African American friends wanted her: the pretty white doll.

Shocked and disheartened by what should have been a fun birthday party at an American Girl Doll store, where even if little Aliya and Laila wanted to choose an African American doll, their only option would have been a freed slave. Sheri and Corey Crowley decided that they needed to do something to make their girls and girls around the country see that their brown was beautiful.