Dear Girl Scout Families,
As much as Girl Scouts has always stood for justice and inclusivity, the need to do so has existed longer than our Movement. Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles realizes that the problem is racism and we acknowledge that recent events surrounding the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, as well as the incident involving Chris Cooper are reminders, not a revelation.
Racism and xenophobia have no place in our organization, our communities, and our world, and we are not just standing with the African-American community through these most recent indignities, we are also the African-American community enduring it. Together we are the beautifully diverse communities of greater LA and recognize that many of us live in constant frustration and fear.
It is clear that we all have more work to do to achieve our mission to make the world a better place—for all people. One of the paramount tenets of Girl Scouts is developing and modeling empathetic leadership, and now is a perfect time for us to embrace it.
For those of us experiencing racism, get support, use your voice, and, most importantly, take care of you. You are not alone. Talk with friends and family and know that GSGLA is holding you close, too. Share your stories to help de-stress. Give frustration and anger a positive outlet your way.
To be an ally, make an effort to learn the relevant history and current issues, as well as how privilege, bias, and oppression impact lives. And when you witness racism, say something and/or provide support as best you can. Know that you may never know exactly how those who experience racism feel, and that’s ok. Ask how you can help and listen.
We know that there’s a task before us, and we are up to it. At GSGLA, we are at work culling resources, ideas, and books for girls, families, and troop leaders to help guide conversations and help cope with anxieties, as well as provide more specific and local ways to support, help, and try to understand. Expect to hear more from us on facilitating conversations, providing training, and finding other ways to make a difference.
In the meantime, cherish each other, and know that Girl Scouts will always exemplify diversity and inclusivity, and we will always advocate for the respect of all people.
For all of us, the emotion and energy in processing and combating racism can be overwhelming. And the fact that we can’t embrace and console each other in-person makes it even harder. Please, take care of yourself and the ones you love.
Yours in Girl Scouting,
CEO, Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles