Dissatisfied with the reading choices offered to them as high school students in Quebec, two young west islanders Fabiola Ngamaleu Teumeni and Mariame Toure, decided to launch a book club for 12-18 year-old girls that would introduce them to Black authors and help them explore a new world of literature.
The Black Girls Gather book club is being launched out of the West Island Black Community Association (WIBCA), where Fabiola and Mariame together with a team of young women, all on a trail of academic excellence, are hoping to inspire young readers by exposing them reading choices that were not available to them as high school students.
“We went to a predominantly white high school, so a lot of the literature we read were oriented towards Québécois culture, so we didn’t learn about Black people at all, we didn’t celebrate Black History Month and that kind of affected our experiences during those (crucial years)” says Mariame, one of two coordinators of the project. She is 20 years old and a second year student in the Faculty of Law at University of Montreal, where she is completing a Bachelor’s in Civil Law.
“So we thought that if we are able to create a book club for Black girls where they could read books written by Black authors, discuss these books and also talk openly about the different ways the books may have touched their lives that it would add to the Black experience and to empowerment for them.”