By: Krystle Crossman
Marley Dias, 11, from Philadelphia is an incredible young woman. She has accomplished a lot in just 11 short years. Her greatest accomplishment has been starting a book drive that is geared towards empowering young black girls like herself. She told her mother that she was tired of reading about white boys in the books that she was given to read at school such as “Where the Red Fern Grows”. Her mother asked her what she was going to do about her current situation and she said that she was going to start a book drive for girls like her that wanted to read about strong black girls instead. And so #1000BlackGirlBooks was born.
The book drive is a collection of books that are written about black children. There are no main characters in any of the books that she has put together who are not black. She has a goal of putting together 1,000 books for the drive by February 1st. As of mid-January she had 400 books collected.
Dias is a firm believer in positive social action. She has attended the GrassROOTS Community Foundation Super Camp in her hometown which focuses on social action movements that young kids can become involved with. This camp has inspired Dias to make a change in her community for other kids like herself. Her mother, Janice, is a co-founder of the organization. Janice states that she grew up in an all-black community and so she didn’t have to worry about standing out or having to deal with not being heard. Her daughter is being raised in a different culture and she wants to make sure that she empowers Marley to have a voice and to stand up for other kids like her who may be having a difficult time.
All of the books that are being collected for the drive are going to be sent to St. Mary, Jamaica which is where Janice grew up. She wants to give back to her original community. While they are collecting books they are going to make a list of the titles and authors which will be made available to anyone who wants it.