Mari first captured the attention of the world’s media in 2016 when – at the age of 8 - she wrote to then President Barrack Obama asking him to intervene in the Flint Water Crisis where there hadn’t been clean water since April 2014.
Mari is also affectionately known as Little Miss Flint because of her tireless work to represent the rights of children in her home-town, in Michigan. The little girl’s other campaigns – that, at the last count, had raised more than $250,000 - include:
Partnering withPack Your Back.orgto provide backpacks full of school supplies for more than 1,000 students and host a summer party
Launching aGoFundMecampaign so that several-hundred underprivileged kids and their chaperones could see the “Black Panther” and “Wrinkle in Time” movies
Organising a water drive to distribute essential supplies to Flint residents
Kick-starting a campaign - #DearFlintKids - inviting people to write to a child in Flint to tell them that somewhere in the world, someone cares about them
Using her 11thbirthday to launch a gifting drive to provide over 600 bikes and 1000 books for Flint Kids.
“Kids need to see themselves as superheroes,” says Mari. “Black kids are seen as victims — and we’re not.”
Meet Mari Copeny aka @littlemissflint. She’s an “11 year old activist fighting for the children of Flint, Michigan”. Since 2016 (after writing a letter to President Obama to come to Flint) she has since raised $350,000+ for the children of Flint! pic.twitter.com/6KYK6QL04T
Perhaps it’s no surprise then that Mari – who is an inspiration to both children and adults the world over – has now inspired us to create a toy in her likeness! The doll – that is sure to appeal to kids of all ages - is dressed in denim shorts, sneakers and a cosy jacket with a bold slogan t-shirt and campaign badges. A placard and megaphone complete the set. “Kid Activist” perfectly demonstrates the Lottie Dolls’ vision that childhood should be an inclusive place where every child belongs regardless of gender, ethnicity or ability.
Check out Mari's reaction to seeing the doll that she inspired for the first time here:
“We continue to be blown-away by the next generation of young people,” says Ian Harkin, co-founder of Lottie Dolls.
“They’re compassionate, collaborative and their can-do attitude gives them the ability to be change-makers on a global scale. Mari’s ten, now, and she aspires to be President of the USA. We have every reason to believe that she’ll do exactly that. With our toys, we want to encourageallkids – regardless of gender, ability or ethnicity - to followalltheir dreams. We can’t wait to meet the next generation of scientists and activists, environmentalists and artists, sportspeople and teachers. From where we’re sitting, the future feels pretty bright!”
Mari is the third person from last year’s Teen Vogue #21under21 who has inspired a Lottie doll followingAllie Weberin 2014 andTaylor Richardsonin 2016.
About ‘Pack Your Back’
In 2016, Mari partnered with Pack Your Back, a non-profit organisation created by students attending Central Michigan University who wanted to make a difference in childhood education.
One of the founding members of the organization, Galen Miller, had been volunteering in Flint during the water distribution with his fraternity Phi Delta Theta when he noticed the impact the water crisis had on adolescent development in the area.
The very next week, Pack Your Back was created, committed to helping underprivileged students get the proper tools and resources needed to succeed in the classroom. Mari has fundraised over $250,000 for the organisation since its launch.