Despite being only 11-years-old, New Jersey resident Marley Dias has given a lot back to her community during her young life. Among other socially altruistic projects, she received a Disney grant and traveled to Ghana to feed orphans. Her latest cause is to make readers consider what exactly makes a hero.
Dias complained to her mother one day that she read too many books with white male protagonists, and she needed a change.
“‘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.”
Marley called the project, #1000BlackGirlBooks and pledged to find 1000 books featuring black female protagonists by February 1.
Nearly halfway to her goal, Marley said, “I’m hoping to show that other girls can do this as well…I used the resources I was given, and I want people to pass that down and use the things they’re given to create more social action projects—and do it just for fun, and not make it feel like a chore.”
Marley’s mother, Janice Johnson Dias, told the Philly Voice.“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.”
Among Marley’s goals, she hopes to edit her own magazine and “continue social action.” #1000BlackGirlBooks will give the donated money to the Retreat Primary and Junior School and Library in the parish of St. Mary, Jamaica where her mother and GrassROOTS’ President, Dr. Johnson Dias, was raised as a child.
Marley and her mother plan to start a small library in Philadelphia.
Marley is currently taking both cash and book donations. Books can be sent to the following address:
GrassROOTS Community Foundation 59 Main Street, Suite 323, West Orange, NJ 07052
[Jezebel] Featured image via screen grab