Where's My Story?

Seventh-grader Marley Dias wasn’t happy with her school’s reading list—so she turned to social media to take action.

Marley Dias was fed up.

Her teacher had just assigned yet another book that didn’t feature any black girls like her. Now, over a plate of pancakes at a local diner, she was complaining to her mom that having so little in common with the characters made it difficult to learn from their stories. 

To that, her mom simply replied: “What are you going to do about it?” 

Accepting the challenge, Marley decided to collect 1,000 books featuring black girls and donate them to schools. She started the project by posting a picture of herself reading Mildred D. Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry online, using the hashtag #1000blackgirlbooks. “I knew that social media was the best way to reach people all over the world,” she says. 

Marley Dias talks Institutional Racism
n this National Education Association video, Marley discusses institutional racism, and how lack of diversity in schools is still a growing problem.

Once the word spread about Marley’s altruistic endeavor, the donations began pouring in. So far, she has collected more than 7,000 books and has distributed them to schools in the United States, Jamaica, and Haiti—with no plans of stopping any time soon. 

These days, Marley is proud of herself for helping kids find great literature about diverse characters, and she’s also excited to be a role model for other teens who feel strongly about any issue. “I want girls and boys to understand that if you feel like something is wrong, you can create change by using your voice,” she says. “If you are passionate about something, anything can happen. Your dreams can come true.”

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