An Edmondson Elementary first grader is proving that students can make a difference in the world.
Morgan and her teacher, Kelley Anne Joyner, worked together to help a teaching platform called Freckle become more representative of its diverse users.
It all started during class when Joyner noticed that Morgan seemed upset. Morgan explained she was sad because there were no black girl hairstyles available to dress up her avatar.
“She said she was frustrated about not seeing any hairstyles like hers,” Joyner said. “I said, ‘what can we do now?’ She suggested we ask Freckle to add more hairstyles.”
Morgan came up with the idea to draw several styles for Freckle employees to see. She drew four options, and Joyner took a picture of them and sent it to Freckle asking that they make a change.
“I didn’t know if they knew what black girl hair looks like, so I drew them a picture,” Morgan said. “I drew an afro, some braids and a ponytail.”
Nearly a month after sending the email, Joyner received a message from the website’s support team informing her that Freckle had added additional hairstyles directly based off Morgan’s drawings. Joyner messaged Morgan to let her know, and then they celebrated with the class.
“Since they used my photos, it made me feel happy,” Morgan said. “I feel proud and warm.”
A representative from Renaissance, Freckle’s parent company, also personally emailed Joyner to deliver a thank you.
“Morgan, it’s your bravery and leadership that fuels us as an organization to drive our mission forward,” said Freckle Chief Revenue Officer Ryan Blackwell. “We are honored to have amplified your voice across Freckle to help many girls like yourself identify themselves in the content we provide.”
Morgan’s mother, Dr. Maya Bugg, says that Morgan will understand the real impact and power of her voice as she gets older.
“I’m so proud of both Morgan and Ms. Joyner,” Bugg said. “Morgan was upset, and Ms. Joyner saw and didn’t write it off. She worked with Morgan to make a change. Representation matters, and you need to listen to people when they talk about how they’re feeling.”