By Dhananji Rathnayake

“Books are bridge builders; when you read a book, you experience the adventures within it. Even if you have limited knowledge about a country, you can learn, share culture, and discover something new. You are not alone. In the end, we often find common ground that brings us together.” – Marjy Marj

Author, entrepreneur, and host of the Global Humanity Chats podcast, Marjorie Boafo Appiah, known as “Marjy Marj,” visited Portland on January 18 as part of her 50-city Building Bridges Tour. 

The event was co-hosted by Pious Ali, I’m Your Neighbor Books, and the Orange Bike Brewing Co., and included a public conversation with Umaru Balde, the Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director for the City of Portland on themes such as the importance of building bridges and fostering unity, understanding, belonging, and empathy among individuals and communities. The evening also featured jollof rice, a West African rice dish, prepared by Oga Suya Nigerian BBQ, a pop-up catering business known for its Nigerian street food

Marjy Marj is Ghanaian American and writes both adult and children’s books. One of her books, Conversations About Race: Humanity Chats, includes a conversation with Pious Ali, who is also originally from Ghana. Marj’s work draws on her own immigrant experience, and her books address challenging topics, such as religion, immigration, race, bullying, and forced servitude. Her podcast has listeners in over 1,100 cities worldwide.