CBC | They created a space for Black girls to read together and share their experiences

CBC Quebec is highlighting people from the province’s Black communities who are giving back, inspiring others and helping to shape our future. These are the Black Changemakers.

The idea behind creating the Montreal book club Black Girls Gather, its founders say, was to make something they wish had existed when they were younger.

“I was usually at home reading, or at the library alone. And it’s lonely sometimes,” said Fabiola Ngamaleu Teumeni, who along with Mariame Touré created the club last year in partnership with the West Island Black Community Association.

The two met when Touré was tutoring Teumeni at a predominantly white high school in Montreal. Teumeni is now studying psychology in CEGEP, while Touré is a law student at Université de Montréal.

“Like many visible minority students in these types of institutions, we didn’t feel represented within our cohort or within the literature that we studied,” said Touré.

In the classroom, the Harper Lee novel To Kill a Mockingbird might typically be chosen to examine the unequal treatment of people by the justice system. Black Girls Gather opted for a more contemporary selection: Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson.

The book club is split into two groups of about 10 girls, one for ages 12 to 14 and another for those 15 to 18. Each month they read a book that “centres us,” said Teumeni, and hold a related workshop.

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