From its origins as the banked-track roller skating marathons of the 1930’s, roller derby made a big splash in the early 2000’s. The revival initially began in Austin, Texas, and quickly spread across the nation, eventually being a recognized sport all over the world. Roller Derby is even being considered for the 2020 Olympic Games. A large number of contemporary roller derby leagues are amateur, self-organized, and all-female. Each league typically features local teams in public bouts which are popular with a diverse fan base.
The LA Derby Dolls was formed in 2003 and is made up of more than 150 skaters and volunteers. The organization is volunteer run and relies on the fans, community, and money raised from their bouts to continue rolling. This is were the trouble starts for the Dolls.
The Dolls recently set up a GoFundMe page in hopes to raise money for permits to hold their bouts. Their January 7 bout was cancelled and the rest of the season hangs in the balance. For more than a year and a half, the Dolls have been working with the City of Los Angeles trying to get a permit filed and approved for their facility, The Dollosseum. Due to the tragedy of the ‘Ghost Ship’ Oakland warehouse fire on December 2, there is a need to get a permanent variance with the city. The LA Derby Dolls are no longer able to receive temporary event permits from the LA Fire Department and the LA City Building and Safety.
The LA Derby Dolls usually hold two bouts a month to cover the cost of running the organization. If they are unable to raise the money for the very costly variance, the Dolls will soon be wiped out. On their fundraising page, the Dolls explain who they are and what they do.
For over 13 years, the LA Derby Dolls has provided a space for women across Los Angeles to find social and emotional support among other women while competing together in a physically and mentally challenging sport. Modern roller derby is unique in that it is a fast-action contact sport led by women as opposed to so many other sports that present as a “women’s alternative” to a male-dominated sport. The pro-women attitude is galvanized by the Derby Dolls’ focus on issues of women’s empowerment, body positivity, and inclusivity.
The organization also helps the LA community by sponsoring and hosting an annual community health fair. This annual health fair offers free vision and hearing screenings, dental exams, doctor consultations, STD screenings, and so much more. This isn’t the limit of the charitable support the Dolls bring to the community. They were part of the Great LA River Clean Up, LA Pride Festival and Parade, Homeboy Industries 5k and Toys for Tacos. We are just scratching the surface of what these kickass ladies do.
So far they have raised over $6,000 of their $119,000 goal. If you’d like to help the LA Derby Dolls with raising the funds for their variance visit their GoFundMe page gofundme.com/keepLADDrolling