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West Orange High School Senior Marley Dias Attends Mental Health Roundtable at White House

WEST ORANGE, NJ – International celebrity and West Orange High School senior Marley Dias joined with other young women impacting their communities in the mental health arena to participate in a roundtable discussion at the White House on March 30. Dias discussed the Green Ribbon Week initiatives held at West Orange High School and Roosevelt Middle School.

Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice and Gender Policy Council Director Jennifer Klein hosted the roundtable at the White House with young women leading their communities in improving mental health. Participants were joined by the leadership of several national girl’s advocacy organizations. With the toll Covid-19 has taken on youth mental health, the young women shared their stories and insights with the Administration, who reinforced their commitment to the Unity Agenda outlined by President Biden. The 2023 budget will include $829 million for increasing the mental health workforce, expanding coverage, and reducing costs as well as addressing the impact of social media on young people.

Dias gained notoriety in 2016 when she began “1,000 Black Girl Books,” a campaign to add more diversity to school reading lists. The initiative took hold internationally and Marley went on to receive several accolades:

Author of “Marley Dias Gets it Done and So Can You!” (2018) detailing her passion for activism and encouraging others to do the same;

Named to the Forbes “List of 30 Under 30 (2018)”;

Named to Time Magazine’s “25 Most Influential Teens List (2018);

Live streamed in a surprise roundtable with Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama (2018);

Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices,” a Netflix series where she served as host and producer; (nominated for an NAACP Award,  2021);

Dias and her mother, Dr. Janice Johnson Dias, founded the GrassRoots Community Foundation, whose mission is to “Engage and unite for community health, fund and provide technical support to community health initiatives, develop models that are low-cost, high-impact, evidence driven and context specific, work with girls, their families and community members to create health solutions, investigate and collect data to inform policy and practice, and advocate for health programs and policies that benefit women and girls.”

GrassRoots partnered with West Orange High and middle schools to promote mental health initiatives during Green Ribbon Week (2021).

Marley’s journey will continue as she heads to college in the fall.

“I am incredibly happy about my acceptances to Harvard, Yale and Duke University,” Dias began.

“I have been thinking about and working towards college for so long, and I’m grateful for the support I’ve received along the way. I am interested in areas of study that help me become a better change maker, such as government, philosophy, politics and economics.”

Read the full press release from the March 30 White House roundtable here.

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Marley Dias (front, third from left) with invitees to the White House Roundtable on Mental Health.

Marley White House

Special Assistant to the President for Gender Policy Kalisha Dessources Figures with Marley Dias..

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Marley Dias with WOHS Principal Hayden Moore.


















Cynthia Cumming
April 3, 2022