Glory Edim on activism through literatureCourtesy of subject

Activism takes different forms – for Glory Edim, founder of the Well-Read Black Girl book club, it is a community that provides a safe space for women to embrace their identity.

When I started wearing a shirt that said “Well-Read Black Girl” I had no idea it would spark a community with a huge following. It did, however, attract attention and lead to some solid conversations about literature.

After moving to New York in 2015, I started the Well-Read Black Girl book club. The group started as a safe space for black women to discuss one book a month that resonated with them. When black women are together, we have the opportunity to reclaim parts of ourselves that have been suppressed. We can redefine ourselves and support each other to embrace who we are.

I also wanted to amplify the voices of minority writers who are new to the scene. I have found these writers to be the most in need of support and cheerleading. So far, the club has supported several successful authors, including Brit Bennett, who wrote the New York Times bestsellers The mothers and The evanescent halfand two-time Lambda Literary Award winner Nicole Dennis-Benn for her novels Pigeon and here comes the sun.

My mission has always been to read and focus on black women and non-binary writers. As the organization evolves, this call to action now includes all women of color. We need to hear everyone’s voice, not just the privileged few.

Black cultural expression has so many beautiful facets. They make our society richer and more beautiful. I hope people will fully understand the presence of black literature and its value across generations. The work we do can reflect a fuller view of what it means to be a citizen.

That’s why our team is dedicated to building and distributing the works of diverse writers. We are going through a time of vulnerability and fragility, and more than anything, stories give people a sense of hope and purpose.

There is unmatched power in unity.

It’s one thing to have diverse books, but to promote racial equity, how do we embrace the importance of all of our stories and narratives? Edim’s response is to build community and change politics, not only in publishing but in society. If you are curious, join the movement.

healing words

These books inspired Edim and gave him strength to face various challenges.

Miss Chloe: A Memoir of a Literary Friendship with Toni Morrison
By AJ Verdelle
“It’s about a mentorship relationship between AJ and Toni Morrison, and how AJ entered into his creative process. She shares her wisdom and guidance. It’s a beautiful tribute to Toni Morrison and highlights the importance of inheritance.

Gather in my name
By Maya Angelou
“It goes more into Maya Angelou’s life as she traveled abroad to teach, be a dancer and expand her aspirations. It talks about her adult life and strengthens the woman we know now. When I juggle several jobs, I remember Maya Angelou too.

Grief is Love: Living with Loss
By Marisa Renée Lee
“Grief, like love, is yours and when fully embraced it can transform your life for the better. Reading her story reminded me to be more gentle with my losses and to practice healing. “self-compassion. I was able to deal with my father’s passing in a healthier way. I was particularly drawn to the book because of the pandemic and the collective grief we are all facing.

This article originally appeared in the November 2022 issue of women’s health

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