Patrisse Cullors and Marley Dias

Opening Session
Date: Friday, February 9, 2018 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM
Patrisse Cullors & Marley Dias Photos

Patrisse Cullors and Marley Dias

Tackling societal challenges: a view from two generations. 

A conversation with Patrisse Cullors and Marley Dias.


Marley Dias, the girl-wonder who started the #1000blackgirlbooks campaign, interviews Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, to learn what determining factors and mindset led each of these activists and motivated them to take action. Discover these answers and more when two generations tackle issues of inequality and strive for grassroots level solutions.

Cofounder of Black Lives Matter, Patrisse Cullors is an artist, freedom fighter and performance artist. In 2013, Cullors co-founded a global movement with a hashtag. #BlackLivesMatter has since become an international organization with dozens of chapters and thousands of determined activists fighting anti-Black racism worldwide.

Given the opportunity to publish her memoirs, Cullors co-wrote When They Call You A Terrorist with journalist asha bandele. The book, now available, and with a foreword by activist Angela Davis, is a poetic biography and reflection on humanity. Necessary and timely, Cullors’ story asks us to remember that protest in the interest of the most vulnerable comes from love. She says, “Leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement have been called terrorists – a threat to America, but in truth, they are loving women whose life experiences have led them to seek justice for those victimized by the powerful.”

Cullors has been named an NAACP History Maker, and a Civil Rights Leader for the 21st Century by the L.A. Times. Her work was celebrated by Google, when they bestowed her with their Racial Justice Grant, to which Justice Teams for Truth and Reinvestment was born - and she has been invited to the White House.  Cullors received her degree in Religion and Philosophy from the University of California. Her appearance is sponsored by Macmillan.

Marley Dias made headlines as a sixth grader, when she started the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign to collect and donate 1,000 books that featured black girls as the main characters. She realized that she saw no characters like herself in the books she was reading and wanted to make a difference. And a difference she has made with a campaign that has, to date generated more than 10,000 books. It was noted though an analysis by the University of Wisconsin, that fewer than 10 percent of children's books released in 2015 had a black person as the main character and, while the number of children's books about minorities has increased in the past 20 years, many classroom libraries have older books. Dias says, "This gaps hurts all of us. If we want equity we need diversity… I’m working to create a space where it feels easy to include and imagine black girls - and make black girls like me the main characters of our lives."

She has been featured in the New York Times, is an Editor in Residence for, and was recognized as a “21 under 21” Ambassador for Teen Vogue. In her new book, Marley Dias Gets It Done – and So Can You, set for release January 2018 and featuring an introduction by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay, Dias offers an accessible guide exploring activism, social justice, volunteerism, equity and inclusion, and even using social media for good. Drawing from her experience, Dias shows kids how they can galvanize their strengths to make positive changes in their communities. Her appearance is sponsored by Scholastic.

Be sure to join us at the ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits Opening Session as ALA President, Jim G. Neal kicks off an exciting conference.

Get details and add to your schedule.


Cullors: Macmillan   Dias: Scholastic