As an anti-racist organization, Girl Scouts stands firmly against the racism and violence that continues to silently seep into every part of our society. We choose to amplify our mission of building leaders who make the world a better place. We choose to live up to the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who once described Girl Scouts as "a force for desegregation." We choose equality and equity for all people.
We recognize and claim this as a moment for us all to stand up and speak out against racism and violence. And to speak up for justice for all humankind. This is a critical moment in time and history. We must listen and we must act. Change will only come from action.
Taking Action is in Girl Scouts DNA. If you’re looking for additional ways to use your voice, take action and create change, we’ve gathered tips and resources to learn about antiracism and inspire advocacy:
1. Don’t think you need to be perfect. Just be prepared to do the work.
Oftentimes, the desire to “get it right” stops people from speaking up and taking action. Too often the result is saying nothing, not wanting to rock the boat. This silence gives way to oppressive culture. Don’t let concerns about how you show up prevent you from showing up ― even if you’ve been slow to get involved in the past.
The first step is listening, no matter who you are. It hurts to hear that you might hold prejudice, especially if you consider yourself an open-minded person. But instead of getting defensive or jumping in to explain your own perspective immediately, listen to other points of view including those of Black change-makers, elected officials, friends and coworkers. Push back on prejudice in your own social circles, even if it requires awkward conversations. And educate yourself on your own inherent bias, even if you don’t think you hold any.
It’s important that you prepare yourself to understand that coming to terms with your own privilege will not be a pretty or fun experience. It is necessary to feel feelings of guilt, shame, and anger throughout the process in order to grow, and build strength and resilience.
2. Check-in on your Black friends, family, partners, loved ones and colleagues
This is an emotional and traumatic time for the community, and you checking in, bearing witness and listening can go a long way to supporting your loved ones’ mental health. Ask how you can provide support.
3. Educate yourself
It is not enough to dislike racism, rather, we need to work towards antiracism. A good place to start is to read up on antiracist works.
As with any civil rights movement, don’t expect the oppressed party to educate you and tell you what to do. Search for the answers on your own in ways that work for you. In addition to reading books, you can listen to podcasts and watch documentaries, or follow activists online.
Girl Scout Alum Katie Couric put a thorough listing of resources together, including kid-friendly options for youth and teens. Check it out>>
4. Avoid sharing traumatic content
Whatever your intentions, it is vital to consider sharing videos of black people being abused and hurt can be both traumatic and triggering for many black people. Avoid sharing this content as it also contributes to the dehumanization of black people.
5. Take [civic] action, like a Girl Scout
Girl Scouts learn to use their voices to speak up and take action on issues that matter to them. Each person has the power to create change through using their voice, advocacy and civic engagement.
- Start a conversation with family members, friends, and neighbors.
- Call the district attorney’s office and other local government officials. Then show up at town hall and city council meetings.
- Sign petitions. Write op-eds. Share links to educational resources.
- Vote for elected officials who share your vision and expose your daughter to the voting process.
- Guide your daughter through earning age-appropriate Girl Scout badges to develop her civic action skills. Citizen Badges available include Good Neighbor, Celebrating Community, Inside Government, Finding Common Ground, Behind the Ballot, and Public Policy.
- Did you know?! Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) launched the G.I.R.L. Agenda Powered by Girl Scouts, a nonpartisan initiative to inspire, prepare, and mobilize girls and those who care about them to lead positive change through civic action. The multiyear effort celebrates the Girl Scout legacy of civic engagement, and for the first time ever, this free, expert-curated and age-appropriate civic action toolkit is now available to all girls.
- Take the Girl Scouts Pledge to Stand Against Racism
Our Council is looking at what more we can do to support racial healing in our community and Girl Scout family and will be looking for your involvement to help us find our way. Please contact us if you’d like to volunteer with these efforts. Together we can create a more just world for everyone.