Sick of Reading About White Boys and Dogs, Marley Dias Launches #1000BlackGirlBooks
When I was going into first grade, my parents went over to the school and insisted that I have a Black teacher. Growing up, I always thought my parents were a little too militant; so for years, I didn’t quite understand them being so adamant. But now? I’m older and I “overstand” the importance of representation and having role models that look like you, which is what my first grade teacher Miss Dalton, now Mrs. Bush, ultimately became.
Marley Dias, an 11-year-old from New Jersey, is leaps and bounds ahead of me when it comes to understanding the importance of seeing yourself. In fact, Marley Dias is leaps and bounds ahead of most people, at any age, when it comes to being an awesome human being. In the past year she received Disney’s “Friends for Change” grant, served food to orphans in Ghana and started a book club.
And as if that weren’t enough, Dias launched a campaign to collect #1000BlackGirlBooks. As the hashtag suggests, she’s looking for 1,000 books that feature a Black girl as the main character.
Dias started the campaign after feeling a bit frustrated in her classroom. Her teacher, a White man, often assigned books that were reflective of his experiences.
According to the Philly Voice, one day, Dias came home expressing her frustration to her mother.
“I told her I was sick of reading about white boys and dogs,” Dias said, pointing specifically to “Where the Red Fern Grows” and the “Shiloh” series. “‘What are you going to do about it?’ [my mom] asked. And I told her I was going to start a book drive, and a specific book drive, where black girls are the main characters in the book and not background characters or minor characters.”
Since she launched her campaign, Dias is halfway to her goal of 1,000 books by February 1.
The books will be donated to a library in St. Mary, Jamaica, her mother’s hometown.
The book collecting campaign is one of the activities in the GrassROOTS Community Foundation Super Camp, which was founded by Marley’s mother, Janice, and Tariq, “Black Thought” Trotter of the Roots.
Marley says she hopes her efforts inspire other girls to work toward the changes they’d like to see take place in their lives.
As for future plans, Marley says, “I want to be a magazine editor for my own magazine. And I’d also like to continue social action. For the rest of my life.”
A girl after our own hearts.
Watch Marley’s incredibly charming interview with Fox 29’s Good Day Philadelphia in the video below.
If you’d like to donate to #1000BlackGirlBooks, you can find out how to do so below.