T.R. Ragland

How a 12 Year Old Black Girl Gave Me Hope

T.R. Ragland
How a 12 Year Old Black Girl Gave Me Hope

In a few days, glasses will be lifted in celebration of another year in the books with hopes of a better one to come. However, for many who have suffered the brunt of a year filled with wacky politics, social unrest, and devastating natural disasters, there seems to be little to celebrate. Nearly every notification, news report, or Twitter scroll reveals a new disaster. As bleak as it all may seem, G.K. Chesterton's wisdom shines through, “We are perishing for lack of wonder, not for lack of wonders.” More than anything, we've lost the imaginative awe of hope.

Luckily, while all of us "grown folk" were casting lots as to when everything will come crumbling down, a 12-year-old girl from New Jersey was busy making America greater than its ever been. If you have never heard of Marley Dias, or her #1000BlackGirlBooksfoundation, you can find her on the cover of Forbes' 2018 edition of 30 under 30. Dias is the youngest individual to make Forbes 30 under 30 list, let alone grace the cover of it. Dias' passion to curate books featuring black girls as a lead character was birthed from a place of frustration, and her response holds a lesson for us all.

CHANGE TAKES TIME

Dias began her search for black girl books in 2015. She's reaping much of the fruit two years later. Remember when you were 12 and being told to wait a couple hours felt like weeks? Somehow this 12-year-old activist mustered up the fortitude and patience to pursue her goal no matter how long it would take because it was worth it. Being angry and refusing to read was too easy. Venting via passive-aggressive tweets was too petty. If she wanted to see substantial results, she knew it would require calculated, exponential effort.

IT'S ALWAYS RIGHT TO DO WHAT'S RIGHT

If anyone could complain about not having enough time, money or influence to make difference, a young black girl from New Jersey could, but she didn't. We are often sold a false bill that creates so many prerequisites to pursuing our passions for the greater good. Dias could have waited until she got her college degree, started her doctoral work, or landed that journalism job to start investing in her passions. Instead, Dias started where she was, used what she had, and did what she could.

HOPE REQUIRES IMAGINATION

Dias profoundly states"Frustration is fuelthat can lead to the development of an innovative & useful idea."Hardship should not deter our hope. It should provoke it. Hope, by nature, always reaches for something it does not possess, and the more valuable that "something" is, the tighter we should cling to the hope. There are numerous events and remarks that could have sullied Marley Dias's hope in 2017, but she persevered. Not to mention she has a book coming out this upcoming January, "Marley Dias Gets It Done, And So Can You!"2017 could not crush Marley Dias, and it does not have to crush you.

As a 24-year-old black man in America, much of this year has produced mix emotions and various level of despair concerning the future of my country. In the midst of this, Marley Dias has restored my wonder and taught me once more how to hope, and I believe everyone young and old can benefit from Marley Dias' story. Regardless of where you come from, or how you felt about 2017, good or bad, Dias reminds us all that hope has not gone extinct, even in a seemingly hopeless world. 

T.R. "Ty" Ragland is a husband, teacher, journalist, and graduate student at the University of Dallas studying Humanities. Ty yearns to see truth made accessible to the public sphere through all art forms. Ty is the co-founder and associate editor of The Grounds Journal.