Jamaican-American Marley Dias Named Forbes Change Maker

Jamaican-American activist and feminist Marley Dias was named a “Change Maker” by Forbes Magazine. In response to the disappointment she felt about the lack of diversity in children’s book, Dias started a campaign on social media in 2015 – #1000BlackGirlBooks – with the goal of encouraging people to bring forward any books they knew about that featured a Black female protagonist. After four years, her campaign has garnered more than 10,000 books, with many of them going to girls in Africa. Dias is herself an avid reader, and she continues to speak about and publicly promote the need for greater representation of diverse populations in popular culture. In a notable instance, Dias spoke at the United States of Women Summit. She was also named as one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30” influencers for 2018 in recognition of the impact she has made as a major force among young people in media. Dias was honored with the Smithsonian Magazine’s American Ingenuity Award for 2017 in the Youth Category.

Dias was born on January 3, 2005, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and grew up in New Jersey. She began her #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign when she was in the sixth grade. Of Jamaican and Cape Verdean descent, she was named after reggae legend and activist Bob Marley. When she was 11 years old, she complained to her mother that none of her mandatory reading materials from school gave her the freedom to read books she wanted to read, but only books that were “about white boys and dogs.” Following the conversation, she decided to start a book drive to focus attention on literature that featured Black female protagonists.

Posting to her Twitter account, she wrote “Thank you Forbes for featuring me on your change makers list! It is so wonderful to be recognized amongst other young change makers.”

Photo Courtesy: Marley Dias

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Stephanie Korney