Here’s Why 12-Year-Old Marley Dias Deserves Your Attention

Despite all the chaos that is currently taking over the world, there are some things–or in this case, some people–to look forward to. 12-year-old Marley Dias is definitely a social activist to admire and watch out for.

This intelligent black girl made news headlines in 2016–at the mere age of 11, might I add–for her social campaign #1000blackgirlbooks. The book drive intended to promote more diversity in books by discovering stories with black girls as the main characters. Her efforts were proven to be successful as she gained immense appreciation and ended up collecting over 8,000 books. In fact, she was loved so dearly by the masses that the young girl now has several notable achievements–being honored at several events, featuring on the Ellen show, meeting Oprah and Michelle Obama, etc.

The reason behind Dias’ #1000blackgirlbooks project is pretty simple. In her own words, she explained, “I started this because in my fifth-grade class I was only able to read books about white boys and their dogs. I understood that my teacher could connect with those characters, so he asked us to read those books. But I didn’t relate to them, so I didn’t learn lessons from those stories.”

The motive behind her campaign is something that should definitely be taken into consideration. According to an analysis by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC), only 278 of the 3,400 books received at CCBC in 2016 featured African Americans as the main characters. This startling fact is proof regarding the lack of diversity in books. With that being said, there is no doubt that people of color deserve to be featured more often in books as well as other platforms, and this is a change that we must bring forward in the future.

Dias’ success, however, doesn’t just end with her book drive.

Recently, the now 12-year-old bagged a book deal with Scholastic. Her fight for what’s right will continue to be featured in this guide that “explores activism, social justice, volunteerism, equity and inclusion, using social media for good (not just makeup tutorials and angry tweets), and shows how young people can galvanize their strengths to make positive changes in our world.” The book is scheduled to release in spring 2018.

“Marley’s energy and passion are electric!” Andrea Davis Pinkney, Vice President of Scholastic, had wonderful things to say about Dias. “Through her smarts and ingenuity, she’s delivered a jolt of inspiration that’s sent an unstoppable shock-wave to kids everywhere who’ve stood up with Marley to shout ‘Yes!’ to the power of positive action. In this book, Marley will share her dynamic wisdom with readers everywhere. We’re thrilled to welcome her to the Scholastic family.”

Dias aspires to “create new spaces for black girls to be represented.” In a letter she wrote for Elle magazine, she shared, “With that in mind, I’ll continue my work to motivate black girls and all people to use their voices to be positive influences in their communities. As members of society, we should always be pushing our girls to strive to be the best and to speak up and out about issues we see.”

With people like Marley Dias promoting diversity and fighting for equality, it’s safe to feel a little reassured for the future. As she continues to make differences one step at a time, our world might not be completely horrible after all.

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