Marley Dias; Founder, #1000blackgirlbooks
As the 12-year-old founder of #1000blackgirlbooks, Dias has, to-date, collected over 10,000 books featuring black female protagonists. Her work has led her many places, including the White House, where she spoke at the United State of Women Summit alongside Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey.
It's safe to assume that most of our teen years includes a few rough moments and a lot of fun times. But what they failed to include was a mention on the forbes 30 under 30 list. In fact, it’s somewhat rare for a teen to earn a spot on the list, but 13-year-old Marley Dias managed to do it. And when you learn more about her, you’ll just wonder why she didn’t make it onto the list sooner.
At 11 you were probably crushing on that little cute boy in your class or losing your tooth or yearning for Christmas clothing. Marley did something different with her time. At the ripe age of 11, Dias launched the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign, aiming to make sure that everyone had access to books that featured black girl protagonists. The idea came to her when she was talking to her mom and realizing that so many of her books featured “white boys and dogs.” Instead of simply accepting it, she decided to change things up and find ways to add much-needed diversity to the children’s literature that people had access to.
"I told [my mom] 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," Dias explained to PhillyVoice. She was tired of reading books where black girls are minor characters. What do you do when you get tired of how something is?
Since she’s gotten so involved with books, she even decided to write her own — Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You! was released on January 30th, and is already a #1 best-seller on Amazon. In the book, which includes an introduction by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay, children can learn about important topics like social justice and activism. Pretty much, Dias is making sure that kids know they can make a difference.