Stitching Healing with the RagBaby Exchange

0.75x 1x 1.25x 1.5x 2x 0:0000:38:37 Stitching Healing with the RagBaby Exchange


Episode Summary

What does YOUR inner doll look like? Find out this week with Lisa and the magical, marvelous Sherri Roberts-Lumpkin. Sherri is the founder of Ragbaby Exchange, a nonprofit that stitches together doll-making workshops and lessons in self-love. By empowering Black and brown kids to create dolls that look just like them, Ragbaby celebrates beauty inside and out. Not your average, white-washed dollie, these babies take a stand against negative self-image, internalized racism, and generational trauma. Tune in to see just how they do it (and how you can, too)

Episode Notes

Learn more about this fantastic project here!

Ragbaby Exchange has held workshops with the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC,  Prince Georges County Maryland’s Arts  Humanities Council, and with Community Family Life Services in Washington, DC with women and young mothers.

Read Full Transcript

Lisa Woolfork 0:17

Hello stitchers. Welcome to Stitch Please, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. I'm your host, Lisa Woolfork. I'm a fourth generation sewing enthusiast, with more than 20 years of sewing experience. I am looking forward to today's conversation. So sit back, relax, and get ready to get your stitch together.

Lisa Woolfork 0:41

Good afternoon, Good morning, Good evening wherever you are on the timeline. I am happy to welcome you. My name is Lisa Woolfork. And I am talking today with Sherri Roberts Lumpkin. Sherri is an amazing creator. She has created the Ragbaby Exchange Co. and the Ragbaby Exchange is a nonprofit organization that does the essential work of helping black girls to love themselves. For me, this is vital work because strong girls become strong women, and not strong in the sense of Black women hashtag Strong Black Women, but strong in the sense of our own resolve and love for ourselves in the face of the onslaught of images that are often telling us how to wax. And so I wanted to welcome Sherri to the program. Thank you so much for being here. --Thank you for having me-- For Patreon supporters, you're going to get to see the ever amazing Sherri Lumpkin in the flesh as well as with an amazing doll behind her. So if you are not a Patreon supporter, why are you not? It's only like $2 a month. I'm pretty sure you got $2 in the couch that you could totally get to Black Women Stitch. Let's be honest, Okay? Can you talk a bit Sherri, about what got you on the doll journey?

Sherri Lumpkin 2:12

I started really when I was a kid because I love dolls. I taught myself how to sew by making clothes for my Barbie doll. I had this great box, it was like a suitcase. I remember it was blue with pink flowers. And inside was a Singer Sewing Machine and a Barbie doll. And I would take fabric and I would make her clothes. And I was just so in love with it. Sometimes, would make fabric dolls, like I was way over the summer with my grandmother in Virginia, and I lived in Maryland near Washington D.C. And I was missing my mom, so I made her a lil' doll. She kept it for years and sometimes I would look at it and I would go, Oh, how embarrassing is that doll.

Sherri Lumpkin 4:10

But you know, we had it in that when I think about it, the doll was not brown. The doll was out of muslin cloth, but I still made it and I think to myself now, why didn't I make that doll brown? But that was all we had. Then, cut to the 80s, my mom and I are searching for an angel to put on the top of her Christmas tree. We can't find any angels that look like us. It's like we don't come in angels. Like what's that about? Now, this is the 80s, things are changing and you couldn't find really nice black dolls, you couldn't find now, you know, of course they had the cabbage patch dolls, but it still wasn't a doll that was dipped in brown paint. It wasn't a doll that began from the inside out. I just decided I would make her a doll topper tree. And when I did, it actually was out of Papier-mâché, it wasn't really out of fabric. And when I did, I got so many orders from her friends, my friends, because everyone was wanting this brown doll to be on their tree. I was a volunteer at a Smithsonian Museum in D.C. It was this community museum called the Anacostia Museum. We had a cool show, an adult show at the time. They asked me to run a workshop for the kids. And I noticed that most of the kids who are Bi-Cauc as to say, brown and black kids were creating dolls with blond hair and blue eyes. And you know, not that blond hair or blue eyes is an issue at all, some Black people actually have it in these African country where a lot of them may have that. That wasn't the point. But what the point was is that they were choosing this because of the narratives of the media and the people and racism and colorism and I would talk to them and I would say Oh I love the beads in your hair. Can I make this doll look like you? Can I make her dress like yours? Can I help you to create a doll that looked like you? And it was boys and girls and what I noticed is that when I helped them create the doll, cause they were apprehensive at first. When I helped them create it to look similar to them cause you know, it's abstract, kinda fell in love with this thing. And when they were like holding it, they were just like giggling. And I said to myself, Wow, there's something there, I need to research how this affects self-esteem. Of course, you know, we already knew about the Clark study with --yeah-- Kenneth and Mamie Clark. And so I looked back at that and I started researching what it is to have self-esteem and self-worth, and how does it affect you and your growth, and how do you get it. Over the years, I just added what I thought really made sense to become a more healing workshop.

Lisa Woolfork 5:23

You said something really beautiful when you were talking about the decorating your Christmas tree. Now, for those of us who celebrate Christmas, and when you have the tree in the house, the tree itself is a symbol, the tree stays up for a long time, the tree is a reminder of the joy of family and bringing together traditions and gifts. And you might hang an ornament on a tree that you've had for generations. Like its celebratory and its ceremonial. Sis when you said, What, we don't come in angel? That is the key. If we cannot find an angel that looks like us, why are we going to put someone who doesn't look like us at the pinnacle of this important celebration? So, like, when we put the angel on our tree, you know, for many people, and it's for myself, you put it on the top, and that's the start of the season, right? It's like, Okay, it's here, Christmas is here, the tree is done, we're ready, the angel is here, she is looking over us, she is watching out for us. And to have it be Brown, just like everybody else in the house, as opposed to not. No, like, if we are not allowed to see ourselves reflected in the most intimate private moments of our lives and our family lives, what does that mean for us? And I think it does indeed go directly to self-esteem. There was a quote from a Black theologian, he said, A people who worship a God who does not look like them are doomed. I just thought that was such a staggering ( ) to think about, right? Because this is something that Black folks are apparently expected to worship a White Jesus, White people don't worship a Black Jesus. But you know, it's like, that was interesting. And then another quote I've been thinking a lot about in my mind that relates to your project as well from Malcolm X. And he says, Only a fool allows his enemy to educate his children. And you can see the effects of that in one of the workshops that you did. I want to talk a little bit about the one that was from 2018, when you were featured as part of some action support network program, as part of a TV station, can you tell us a bit about that? It was a really beautiful story.

Sherri Lumpkin 7:50

So that workshop was done in a area that is considered an impact area that you know, where people may need more services or help, not necessarily poor, but an area that just needs more uplift, and all kinds of things given to it because it's pretty much ( ). And the community center let me do a workshop there, I did it for free, cause I really wanted to help the girls. They were so beautiful and sweet. It was Black and Brown kids there. And we did the workshop and one of the ways that I do the workshop, but one of the steps to this workshop is releasing negative self talk and replacing it with positive affirmation. And when we release the negative self talk, we are actually writing it down. And we sometimes put it on top of a mirror because you know, the mirror is the window to your soul. If your soul has junk covering up, you can't really see the truth. I had them write down these things that they needed to release. It's almost like if you have a sticky on your back in school, somebody says, your friend says to you, Oh my God, somebody put the sticky on here that says I'm with stupid, and they tear it up and throw it away. You're walking around the rest of your life thinking, wow, wait, am I stupid? Even though you may know you're not. But you might question that, you know, from time to time, and that just becomes some junk inside of you that you need to release and weed out. And so, the exercise of writing it down to release it is amazing because they wrote things like, I wish I wasn't fat, I wish my skin wasn't so dark.

Sherri Lumpkin 9:23

One lil' girl saying, I wish I was smarter, why am I not smarter? Another one may have said something about her hair not being straight. It's like incredible that you are eight years old and you have these thoughts. I think they were eight to eleven and you're eight years old and you're saying, I wish I wasn't fat and why isn't my skin lighter? And that is in the narrative of the world, right? The narrative not just in America, but all over. And so, we had them take those, know that they were releasing them and we would tear up these things they said. But not just tear it, but like with a vengeance, we tear it, we tear it, we like, make it to little tiny pieces. I collect them, I make sure that they don't lose any. Cause I often tell kids, and we do this with adults as well, but I make sure I tell kids that it's like kryptonite. If you lose a little bit, it can still get you. You used to see them, they're ( ), if they drop the piece, they get it and then they're like, Oh, no, get that up. It's like ( ), so we throw it away it and when we do women, sometimes we're able to do in a space we may burn it. But when we ( ) kids, we actually have thrown it away, or sometimes we put it in a clear glass of water and let it melt away, cause you can see the ink pen beginning to melt. Because you know, water is healing as well. And then, we rewrite those things that we said into an affirmation. And we make sure we use the term or the phrase, I am. And talking about, you know, spirituality, this is not a religious or spiritual class. But the idea that the term, I am, is divine. Using a negative term after the words, I am, creates it because it creates what you're saying, I am fat, you become what you began to believe. As I make sure I let them know that after the term, I am, is when you need to add what's positive. I'm not saying that you have to lie. I'm not saying that if you are overweight and you need to take care of me for health reasons, that you don't recognize that you are, but you write it differently. You say I'm worthy of taking care of myself to build the beautiful body that I am, you change this into a positive statement. And once I get them to do that, I have them write those. And in writing them, the copy written or patent pending, or one of those, like, trademark idea of the Ragbaby Exchange is that we are stuffing these right into our bodies, right into the doll that we are creating. Sometimes, we'll do notes to our younger self. I worked with a juvenile detention center and it was with young girls. They're like, I'm not doing a doll making workshop, I'm in jail. But they were told to do it, voluntold to do this, and they went through the workshop, and by the end of the weekend, they can speak on their experience. And one girl got up and said, I did not want to do this workshop, but I was forced to. And as I was doing it, I realized that no one has ever put love into me. And right now, I'm stuffing love inside of me. I have a daughter who was created in rape, but I kept her. And I want to make sure that I put love inside of her. So I felt like that is where I get my inspiration to continue because, I'm never gonna say anything about my workshop because I was just like, let me sit over here and eat my snacks. Cause they were saying great things, cause they had people who were doing poetry, and people who were just all like the tough love and the get it, get it done. And mine was the sweetness, you know. But when she said that, I almost choked on my food. I'm like, tears running down my eyes, you know, it was just like, and then people were clapped. And it was like, wow, there's an impact.

Lisa Woolfork 9:32

There is absolute impact. And I love the question that you start with when you ask the girls at the community center and I'm sure you did this at the detention center as well. That, what does your inner doll look like? What does that look like? I am going to ask you to build what your inner doll looks like. What does that question open up for you, as an artist, and as a teacher working with girls in this capacity?

Lisa Woolfork 13:48

You're listening to the Stitch Please Podcast and I'm speaking today with Sherri Roberts Lumpkin about her fantastic project, the Ragbaby Exchange. When we come back, we will hear the answer to the question that I asked Sherri about her inner doll. Stay tuned, and we will resume after the break.

Lisa Woolfork 14:17

Black Women Stitch and the Stitch Please Podcasts are happy to announce that we have another way to connect with our community. In addition to the IG lives that we do every Thursday at 3 PM, we also now have a club on Clubhouse. That's right friends, Theta messed up and given me the chance to have a club. Follow Black Women Stitch on Instagram and now on Clubhouse, Thursdays at 3 PM on Instagram and 3:45 PM on Clubhouse, Eastern Standard Time. It will help you get your stitch together.

Lisa Woolfork 14:53

Welcome back, everyone. Thank you for joining us. We are continuing our amazing conversation with Sherri Roberts Lumpkin. And we're gonna find out a bit now about what her inner doll looks like.

Sherri Lumpkin 15:05

My mother is beautiful. I mean, I know everybody can say that about their mom. And my mom is darker than me. And as a kid, she was told so many unkind things about her color, just like, so insensitive. And then I remember her whenever she would buy a Santa Claus or something, she would paint it brown. I remember thinking to myself, she's working on what's inside of her, that she was just not even thinking about it, but she was doing it for us. But she was also working on herself, right? Because she still had some issues with being dark. No matter where she goes, people just die over her beauty. So I'm like, she doesn't even get how beautiful she is, because she didn't know. What I thought when I saw her doing that, I think I've come sort of full circle. Because I had issues of self esteem at fifteen and I was a model for a major department store that I traveled around ( ). I think we went from Virginia, D.C, Maryland to Pennsylvania. I was hired as a model, and I still didn't know. It's like I wanted to do this, but I mean it helped me build a little self esteem. But I still didn't know that I had, and everyone has this beauty inside. No, just the television, the magazines, the narratives all around, they destroy it for you. And then, you know, then you have to compete with people, you know, all of the whitewashing that has happened over the generations, the scientific studies or even the way they say angry Black woman, the strong Black woman, the magical Black woman, that I do think we're magical.

Lisa Woolfork 16:50

Our magic is not for the use of White people. We're not like a magical lamp, that you can rub it three times and then magic pops out. Black girl magic is for us.

Sherri Lumpkin 16:55

One of the things that I would notice is when I would get made up, I have a softer look. All the makeup was always done the same. It was always a rough, hard look. And I don't particularly like that. I think some women look so beautiful in dark lipstick. But it wasn't always for me. If it's for a spread that is about something, that's one thing. But to always make me up hard when that's not my look, that is just because that's what they think is supposed to be done. I think that the whole image of us, even to the point that we don't feel pain, like no, it's not ( ) to tell you that you're not and it's just such, like you said when you were looking at some of my stuff, you got a little sensitive. They don't think that we are sensitive. And that I mean, I think that more and more people know and understand and it's growing. However, I think this is a narrative that is sort of universal about us.

Lisa Woolfork 17:25

And one of the things I love about what you've said, and you've said so many wonderful things. One, the notion of colorism. Colorism is, as I see it is, internalized white supremacy. It's essentially taking that same white supremacy hierarchy about light is right and turning it on to ourselves. And this is one of the, you know, in a religious sense or Christian sense, some would say, this is the trick of the enemy, right? Or we just call it gaslighting today? That we are meant to somehow believe all the things that we have been told about us, rather than trusting our own instincts, our own aesthetics, our own judgments, our own values, because it's much easier for white supremacy to operate if we cooperate and do some of the work for it. And we do some of that work for it when we're saying, I wish I was lighter, I wish my hair was straighter, I wish, I wish. And that's one of the things I absolutely love. That you get the girls and the women in your workshop to recognize and to pause at the answer to the question, what is your inner doll? What does that look like? What does she require? What does she need? How do you nurture her? How do you nurture her? Because no Black woman in my opinion is well served by the racist narratives designed to confine us.

Sherri Lumpkin 19:19

And I find that not just White people, but ( ) White people for the sake of this conversation, often are taught the same things that we're taught. A lot of times, I don't even think they are conscious, and that's why during this awful pandemic, the four or five pandemics that we've had, one, including racism, their eyes have been opened. I remember in working for a magazine and I was a worker, I was in my twenties. Another Black woman worked there too and she was darker and bigger. And then, there was a White girl who happened to be Jewish. She said to me, why is it that I just find you so much more attractive and appealing than her? And I am still like a little bit teary-eyed. As a young person, I did not know how to answer it. But then, it came to me. And I said, obviously because what you have been taught is why you think that. Only because I am closer to your complexion than she is. But had there been a girl that was lighter than me here, you would have found her the more attractive one. And she was like, I know, I just think that you are prettier. I'm like, that's not it, that's not what you think, that's what you think you think. But what is, is you're choosing by the level of colorism and racism that makes you think lighter, closer to you, hair was permed at the time, you know? Closer to you is what's more attractive. Not that I'm prettier than this woman.

Lisa Woolfork 20:56

Right. I think that's very insightful for her to even have recognized that what she's stumbling upon is racism and how racism shows up in her life and in her mind. It seems to me that to verbalize the question, it's really a question she should be asking herself. That's not a question for you.

Sherri Lumpkin 21:15

They always come to us to fix it. What I've been saying now, we can't help you find how to get out of racism. They're saying more and more of that now about why ( )

Lisa Woolfork 21:23

Read a book don't come to us. ( )

Lisa Woolfork 21:28

Yes. Or one of the things I've been saying lately is that I refuse to spend my life explaining White supremacy to itself. Yeah, like, this is what you are doing and why it's hard because I'm a much less patient than you are, already than you were. Maybe I was much more when I was 20 as well. But now I'm just like, I don't believe that anybody doesn't know these things. I just refuse to believe it. I learned it, I knew it, I live in the same country that you live in. You have got to know this is a thing.

Sherri Lumpkin 21:56

I don't know but when you have privilege and it's not on your mind. The only thing is on your mind is you. I mean, yesterday, parking, someone just opens their door and I'm stuck in the middle of the street. He just looks at me and he goes, ( ) behind me, all these people behind me, his door's wide open. He's pulling out kids and wifey and just be like, Okay, I'm done now, you can go on. Not let me get back in the car, so the people can get around and then I can open the door. But he just swings the door open without looking. It's a privilege that they have, that they're not even aware that you are just being rude or it's not about you right now.

Lisa Woolfork 22:36

Yes, it's about the public and the flow of traffic that you are absolutely interrupting, and your raised finger is not enough to stop it except that it did. I wanted to ask also about, I'm just so excited about the corrective nature of this project. That it is correcting so many things that have been distorted, it's correcting so many untruths, it's correcting so many of these things. And in really intimate and personal ways, for the Black women and girls and fans who take your workshop. I really love to see that transformative process. And it's the beginning of a door, because once the doors open just a little bit, and someone can say, I realized no one has poured love into me or I realized that I am deliberately and fearfully and wonderfully made. That I have this and who is being served by me thinking small? I love that idea of somehow, recalibrating Black women and girls love of themselves through the work that you are guiding them to create. And that is something that I think is so worthy of recognition and celebration, the way that you are bringing life and light into this process. Can you talk a bit more about, I notice for example, some people talk about, Well, sewing is my therapy, sewing is therapy. And I say therapy is therapy. But what I see you doing is an actual therapeutic process, a process of care, a process of love. Can you talk a bit more about that?

Sherri Lumpkin 24:13

Though that process is very interesting, oftentimes, we will have the wrangle of dolls. And when you have a certain amount of participants, you can't always get their skin tone color, because sometimes that is insulting to people. They may not want that. But now that I have a box, a kit, I'm able to ask them and they can tell me cause they want to get the color they want. However, if you go into a social services kind of situation, you just need to bring enough. And say you have fifteen people and you bring twenty five dolls, and then you let everyone pick and say, there is like a beige color and a white color and then there's a dark color left. And you're my color, or a little lighter, maybe a little darker. What color do you choose? Oftentimes, they choose white. Oftentimes, they choose beige. But hardly ever do they choose the dark. And then, you know, you let them choose. And you don't try to embarrass them. But it's a opportunity for conversation. And so, when everyone gets back to their space, and they're ready to start, I'll just ask the question, So why you think you chose your doll color? So I'll let people tell me why they chose, Oh, this looks like my skin color. And you can see a person becoming uncomfortable with their choice, you know? And so when you get to them, and they'll say, one little guy I was in Cuba, with Afro Cuban kids. And the little boy, he has a white doll, he goes, I chose white because white is purity, and white is peace. And I said, Why don't you choose your color and make his clothes white? And you can express purity and peace. He actually responded well, but it took some work, because we talked about just the color black and white. I started asking the kids what it meant to them. And lots of kids were saying, black was negative, black was mean, black was dark, black was cruel. White was precious, white was this. And then I started to explain to them about the fact, cause I think one guy said Black people were slaves. And I said to him, Well, actually, they weren't slaves. They were Africans who were enslaved. And I don't speak Spanish, so I had an interpreter. And then, I had a friend who also speaks Spanish fluently. The interpreter was actually a White Cuban. And my friend, she's a Black woman who lives in the States, but she speaks Spanish. She had to correct translator, because she couldn't find the words to say ( ), right? And so my friend, Laurie has a keep correcting her until we got it right. And then, that same little boy, when I said to him, that you weren't slaves, you come from Kingdoms that had Kings and Queens and civilizations that were smart and intelligent, and these people were stolen, his eyes lit up. And he was so excited. And at the end of the workshop, he said, I had never known that I come from descendants of Kings. I'm so excited, I've never done anything like this. And so, these are the kinds of things people just aren't taught, you know, they aren't taught their heritage. We don't know our heritage, we don't know our lineage, we don't know these things. But the idea that you could have just been an African in the tribe, but you had a King somewhere.

Lisa Woolfork 27:51

And again, the work that you're doing is corrective and healing because of the way that anti-blackness works globally, is to ascribe all sorts of negative meanings to Blackness and to Black people and to dark skin. And what I find one of the amazing tricks of White supremacy, is that rather than, like, this is to turn slavery into Black people's shame. Slavery is not Black people's shame. Slavery is White people's shame. They're not ashamed, they raise statues to enslavers, they name universities after enslavers. These people are the ones that enslaved and tortured and raped and abused for generations. And yet, they get to be proud of their heritage and all the money that they extracted by raping and robbing and stealing and violating us. And we are left with not just the huge wealth gap and income gap, we're also left with this shame that somehow this was done to us.

Sherri Lumpkin 28:57

Generational trauma, this is the things that is in our bodies. And these are one of the things that we work on with adults as well. We have a moment of finding, you know, just taking the time to find where the pain is, and maybe make it a stitch where that pain was and then blessing it with a flower or a heart in its place. Because generational trauma is real. I tell you, one of the things that I had a workshop at a camp. In the morning time, we would have a conversation with the boys and the girls. After the conversation, then, the boys would go off and do a workshop, then the girls would do my workshop. This was just for one week of the camp. The camp went on longer. And so when we got further into building the doll, one of the little boys said to a girl, That dolls not cute. You look like an African and you bald headed. This is what he's saying to her. And you know, I could see she was fussing back at him, but I could see her pain. And I just said, Wait this stops right here. This talk. First of all to the girl, I said to her, Why is if somebody says that you look like an African, A, Why is that an insult? And she just looked at me and she's like, They're always, you know, they tell you that you're Black. And, you know that color, that Brown color is ugly. And they like, you look like an ugly Black African cause Africans, you know, they are backwards, and they this and they that. And I was like, Who told you they were backwards? What color do you think Africans are? They are all like this ugly, dark color. And I'm like, well, dark colors are not ugly, first. But second, they come in all colors, just like we do in the United States. African is a whole lot of different countries. What country are you speaking of? I mean, I had to educate them. And then I said to him, why do you think Africans are ugly? And more important, why would you call her bald headed? And he goes, cause she have no hair. I was like, Well, wait, we're not talking about her right now. Maybe it's a girl that has alopecia, maybe it's a girl who wants her hair cut really short, maybe it's a girl whose hair won't grow. And then I said, Do you laugh at girls that wear extensions? Yeah, cause that's stupid. So you don't like bald headed girls, but you don't like girls who had tried to make their hair long like you like? Why not? I said they only trying to please, unfortunately, you, and you're a kid. So imagine them adults, what she may be going through. And so he's looking at me, he's so confused. And I said, The thing is that when you see hair short in Africa, it's really done on purpose. It started with the colonizers because they didn't want them to come to school with their hair out. They had to cut their hair short. In the United States, they had to wear a rag on your head, cause they didn't want to see their hair, they had to cover up their hair. And his eyes are wide. I mean, I think he's eleven. His eyes are so wide. And you know, he just was like taking it all in. So he looks at the girl, and he says, I'm really sorry, I don't think you're ugly. I just, this is what I always say, you know, those are the things, your hair is short, and you're dark, but I don't think you're ugly. Then at the end of the camp, at the end of the week, I'm packing up some of my products and stuff, putting it in my car, and he's helping me. It's more than one boy helping, but he's helping me too. And he stays at my car, and he says, I will never call a girl bald headed again, So I will never ever think about that again, because I have learned how beautiful they all are. And he was eleven, if you can change that at eleven, imagine the man that he is becoming. Now, this was a few years ago, you know, he's a teenager now. So I'm like, imagine that, that he was taught to because they think that the pictures that you see, I mean this is getting better, but there's always been this thing about Africa. If you see something beautiful about Africa, it's the land and it's the animals and you see White people in these white outfits with, you know, hats, and they're walking through, it's beautiful. When you see Africans they are, you know, dancing. They do dance and they do have rituals, but this is not their life. They have whole cities that they've created.

Sherri Lumpkin 33:14

And Africa is not a country. Different countries are a continent. Africa is different places. What you're being told is not the truth. And one thing about, if you see a movie like Tarzan, it's like, really? How could it be? Really? How could that possibly be that a white man can talk to the animals and all of these Black men around him, they don't know how. Like, this is so ridiculous.

Lisa Woolfork 33:36

It is violence and to market these ideas to children and to reproduce these colonial narratives that always try to get folks to sympathize with the oppressor. And that's what's in that insult of, you look like an African, you look Black. Black kids calling Black kids, Black as me, Black as you, with Mamas, as Black as me, as Black as you, calling somebody Black as an insult.

Sherri Lumpkin 34:53

African as an insult.

Lisa Woolfork 35:25

It's appalling. And it just shows that the work that you are doing is so important because it is correcting and guiding these children to a better version of themselves, based in love. Because its so much contempt out there that's available. And that's why you have eight year olds saying they wish they were thin. That's why you have eleven year olds calling somebody African as an insult, because they have inherited these racist narratives that they also then believe, right? And it's so harmful. And the beauty of your work is that you are speaking to children, to young people in a language that they can appreciate. So, making a superhero doll, making an angel that looks like them is something that is helping them from within. And helping, I think the community itself become more strong and robust and resilient. That you are giving them counter narratives that are equipping them to move forward in ways that are powerful, and in ways that are keeping themselves at the center of a loving story of their lives. That is something that is so priceless and so difficult and so precious. And I'm grateful to you for doing that.

Lisa Woolfork 35:33

We are going to have to wrap up now, because where did the time go? We didn't get to talk about everything,s o this just means you have to come back. This just means you have to get to come back and have another conversation about this amazing work, about all that you are doing. But I'm so grateful to you. Can you tell us where folks can find you? How can we follow you on social media? How can we support this amazing project?

Sherri Lumpkin 35:54

Thank you. It's so great. You can find me on Facebook at the Ragbaby Exchange. Also on Instagram, Ragbaby Exchange, then Twitter is Dolls Make Peace. And then my website is And the website really needs some work, so we are trying to upgrade it. You cannot donate on the website at present. But you can contact me cause I am a nonprofit, a 501(c)3, so contact me to pay other ways. And I would love it. So, thank you.

Lisa Woolfork 36:31

Yes, so y'all, I'm gonna put all these links in the show notes, so you'll be able to click to find Sherri Lumpkin, and to connect with her, to support her with financial resources and any other aspects that you could, well financial, let's just stay with that. I could say, Oh, people can send you fabrics. No, she doesn't want fabrics, send her some money. If you send money, she can buy the things she needs. So, thank you again Sherri for being with us today. I'm so grateful to you. This was wonderful. Thank you.

Sherri Lumpkin 37:00

I love it. Thank you, Lisa. I really appreciate it and I'm honored to be here.

Lisa Woolfork 37:14

You've been listening to the Stitch Please podcast, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. We appreciate you supporting us by listening to the podcast. If you'd like to reach out to us with questions, you can contact us at If you'd like to support us financially, you can do that by supporting us on Patreon, and you can find Black Women Stitch there in the Patreon directory. And for as little as $2 a month you can help support the project with things like, editing transcripts and other things to strengthen the podcast. And finally, if financial support is not something you can do right now, you can really, really help the podcast by rating it, and reviewing it anywhere you listen to podcasts that allows you to review them. So I know that not all podcast directories or services allow for reviews, but for those who do, for those that have like a star rating or just ask for a few comments, if you could share those comments and say nice things about us and the Stitch Please podcast, that is incredibly helpful. Thank you so much. Come back next week and we'll help you get your stitch together.

Hosted by Lisa Woolfork

Lisa is a fourth-generation sewing enthusiast who learned to sew while earning a PhD in African American literature and culture. She has been sewing for more than twenty years while also teaching, researching, and publishing in Black American literature and culture.

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