Inspiring stories: Virtual pride celebrations and a black doll designer's 'bright spot' moment brought a smile to our faces this week

Healthy Roots Dolls has been helping to provide little black girls with a sense of self. (Photo: Healthy Roots Dolls)

A lot is happening throughout the world as people continue to adjust to ever-evolving coronavirus protocols, face the reality of racial injustice and come to terms with the fact that this summer isn’t nearly the same as the last. But that hasn’t stopped many from coming together and finding joy, especially during Pride month.

LGBTQ Pride celebrated with virtual parties, rallies and performances

The 2019 Los Angeles Pride Parade in West Hollywood, California. (Photo: Ronen Tivony / SOPA Images/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

June is LGBTQ Pride month, which is usually celebrated across the world with in-person parades and other colorful events. And while that can’t happen this year as a result of the coronavirus, the LGBTQ community and all who participate won’t miss out on the chance to show their pride. Instead, people can participate in a global event taking place virtually at the end of the month. “Of course, we wish this was a physical event, it’s different, but it doesn’t change what we are going to be bringing to the table,” Julian Sanjivan, co-president of InterPride, a global consortium of Prides, and an organizer for Global Pride 2020 tells Yahoo Life. “That itself is a silver lining, to see what we can do despite all the challenges.”

Black dolls helping to teach kids about race, identity and self-esteem

Yelitsa Jean-Charles created a beautiful black doll named Zoe while forming her company Healthy Roots Dolls as part of a class project at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2014. At the time, the doll was a reflection of her experience as a black woman in America and served as a reminder and representation of her own beauty. Still, she never imagined how impactful it would be for other black children throughout the country, until recent conversations about the Black Lives Matter movement and racial injustice in the wake of the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. “Black children don’t very often get to be children,” Jean-Charles tells Yahoo Life. “We have to have these conversations about race. Our parents have to inform us about how our country is and the way they view black people. We have to grow up very quickly, so I think it’s important to give black children childhood and if Healthy Roots can do that, we’ve done our job.”

Young black man tackles questions about race in his small Texas community

Nisa Kaniga is inviting passersby in Dripping Springs, Texas to discuss their pressing questions about race with him. (Photo: Courtesy of Nisa Kaniga)

Nisa Kaniga, a 20-year-old literature major at the University of Texas at Dallas, lives in Dripping Springs, Texas where less than one percent of the population is black and many are raising questions about race and the current state of the world. So, instead of interacting with people online, where words can be misconstrued and become even hostile, Kaniga is volunteering to have uncomfortable conversations with people in person. “I don’t have all the answers, but I’m just here to share my perspective. I’ll keep going out as long as people are curious and want to learn,” Kaniga tells Yahoo Life. “Change doesn’t happen over a night, but it can happen over a lifetime. And I’ve still got lots of time.”

Restaurant owners started a 'pizza speakeasy' in their backyard for out-of-work staff

Philadelphia restaurant owners Joe and Angela Cicala had to close their business during the coronavirus pandemic. While out of work for a couple of weeks, they felt inclined to keep their business going in order to provide for their out-of-work employees. So, they created a “pizza speakeasy” in their backyard after building a wood oven and seeing a demand for their pizza on social media. “You need a little happiness in the middle of this,” Angela tells Yahoo Life. “I’m happy that we could do that.”

Wheelchair dance team practices online to keep group connected during the pandemic

L.A.-based wheelchair dance team, The Rollettes, had halted their in-person rehearsals during the coronavirus quarantine. But the group’s founder, Chelsie Hill, felt it was important to make sure that the team remained connected when “the entire world is feeling isolated.” Hill tells Yahoo Life that while making sure the group was still interacting and spending time together virtually, they wanted to benefit the larger community. So they hosted an all-day “Boundless LIVE” event on The Rollettes Instagram Live account on Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) in late May. “Just because there's a pandemic going on doesn't mean we have to stop our goals. It just means we might have to take another route,” Hill says. “We are just getting started.”

Read more from Yahoo Life:

Want daily lifestyle and wellness news delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for Yahoo Life’s newsletter.