Marley Dias:” I’m tired of all the books about white boys and dogs”. [she was assigned to read in fifth grade.]
Mom: “What are you gonna do about it?”
Marley Dias:” I should start a book drive!”, she said, in reply to her mom. “I want to start a book drive where Black girls are the main characters and that’s really how it came to be!”
…and that’s how #1000BlackGirlBooks was born!
The conversation between the Jersey native and her mom inspired this young lady to start her mission to collect books that black girls like her could relate to or connect with. With the help of her mom, Janice, Marley launched the book drive on Facebook.
The project is part of an annual social action effort Marley makes as a member of the Philadelphia-founded GrassROOTS Community Foundation Super Camp for young girls, designed to empower and improve the health of ‘impoverished’ girls middle-school-aged and younger. Dias’ mother, Janice, cofounded the organization seven years ago with lead MC of The Roots, Tariq Trotter, AKA Black Thought.
Janice, who grew up in St. Mary, Jamaica, spoke with the PhillyVoice and shared how “eye-opening” her daughter’s project has been for her.
“I didn’t need identification, or I didn’t desire it because I grew up in an all-black country,” Janice told PhillyVoice. “She’s not growing up in an all-black country; she’s growing up in a fairly white suburb, in a country that only has 12.6 percent of blacks. For her, identification is a bigger deal. … For young black girls in the U.S., context is really important for them — to see themselves and have stories that reflect experiences that are closer to what they have or their friends have.”
Listen to Marley’s recent radio interview here
Want to donate?
Books or monetary donations can be sent to: GrassRoots Community Foundation, 59 Main St., Suite 323, West Orange, NJ, 07052.