Nationally Recognized Teen Activist Attends SI Event to Empower Female Students | In the Class column

IN CLASS: This column is part of a chronicle on continuing education highlighting the various activities that mobilize school communities.

STATEN ISLAND, NY – A teenage activist and author who was recognized by a national magazine and launched a successful social media campaign recently attended a Staten Island District 31 My Sister’s Keeper event to empower and inspire young women to create change.

Marley Dias, a high school student who plans to attend Harvard University in the fall, spoke with students and signed copies of her recently released book, “Marley Dias gets it: and so do you!” The event – which included conference sessions, activities and networking opportunities. — took place last month at the Borough President’s Hall of Science at the Michael J. Petrides Education Complex in Sunnyside.

The successful student is the founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks, a children’s book collection and donation campaign featuring black girls as the main character. The initiative garnered more than 10 billion impressions on social media and created an international movement. Starting the movement aged 11 in 2015, she has collected over 13,000 books to date.

Dias was recognized by TIME in 2018 as one of the 25 most influential teenagers and was named the youngest member of the Forbes 30 Under 30 listing. She is also an executive producer of “Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices on Netflix.” The show, hosted by Dias, features celebrities reading books featuring black characters and authors.

My Sister’s Keeper is a New York City Department of Education (DOE) initiative to promote gender equity, empower, and engage girls and young women in grades 4-12, including cisgender, transgender, gender-broad students, and all other students who identify with the terms. “girl” or “women”.

Dias, a high school student who plans to attend Harvard University in the fall, signs copies of her recently released book, “Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You!” (Courtesy of Melissa Cisco)

My Sister’s Keeper students were also able to participate in a recent Tea & Chat event at the Tea House Garden inside the Hilton Garden Inn, Bloomfield.

The event, which also took place last month, was hosted by District 31 Superintendent Dr. Marion Wilson and My Sister’s Keeper. Wilson said she planned to gather young girls for tea time after a trip to England.

“I’m the kind of person who has original ideas. After going to England, I love tea, and we’re just going to have afternoon tea with the girls. It’s all about exposure for me,” she explained.

Attendees sipped tea and munched on assorted sandwiches, fresh fruit and more as they engaged in conversation, enjoyed an illuminating musical performance by Haitian-American singer and songwriter Tadia, and indulged in the beautiful aesthetics that surrounded them.


Dias is pictured here with two young students holding copies of her book. (Courtesy of Melissa Cisco)


New York public school students will be notified on Wednesday of their acceptance into high school.

The DOE has announced that students will be able to connect to MySchools.nycand see their offer letter after school hours on Wednesdays. Families without a MySchools account will be able to get their offer from a current school counselor or family welcome center.

Waiting lists will open once offers become available.

In response to feedback from families and communities, middle and high school waitlists will remain open longer this year – until September 16.


The New York State Department of Education recently named the fifth class of My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Scholars who have been identified as leaders in their MBK communities and who will be offered opportunities for mentoring relationships in government, education and business. The 86 scholarship recipients represent 31 school districts in New York State.

There are four Staten Island Scholars, including:

  • Ellyjah Dortilus – Staten Island Young Men’s Eagle Academy
  • Yovany Perez Mendez – Eagle Academy for Young Men of Staten Island
  • Ian Sanders, Jr. – Eagle Academy for Young Men of Staten Island
  • Justin Walton – Ralph McKee Technical and Vocational High School

The MBK initiative helps boys and young men of color — and all students — reach their full potential, according to the state.

“My Brother’s Keeper Scholars are leaders in their communities, helping to build a culture and society of opportunity where every student can succeed,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr.. beliefs and ideas are nothing without execution. MBK is breaking down barriers, empowering our young people to effect real change, and creating a generation of leaders prepared for civic duty and deeply committed to social justice.

Each fellow is matched with a mentor from a NYSMBK Community Network Partner and is offered a fellowship opportunity. Each Fellow will also be expected to develop and execute a service project related to an NYSMBK initiative, such as:

  • Ensure equitable access to high quality schools and programs.
  • Expand prevention, early warning and response services.
  • Responding to structural and institutional racism.
  • Engage families and communities reliably and respectfully.

“These remarkable young men are the voices of our future and worthy champions of our cause,” Rosa said. “My Brother’s Keeper is a call to action, and the Department is committed to doing what’s right for everything children. I thank Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins ​​and their colleagues for their continued support of New York’s MBK program and for opening the doors of success to all New- Yorkers.


Do you have an idea for an article for the Education in the Classroom section? Email Annalize Knudson, Education Journalist, at [email protected]


Joseph K. Bennett