“Don’t be mean to other people.”
That was what a 5 year-old Daisy Girl Scout asked of more than 100 people gathered at a recent Town Hall to brainstorm ways for Girl Scouts to respond to the challenging, often scary events happening in their communities. That Town Hall took place because Girl Scouts of Western Washington is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. We’re actively looking for ways to empower every girl—girls of every race, ethnicity, income, gender identity, ability, religion, sexual orientation, and geographic location—to make the world a better place.
Regardless of where they were born, each and every one of our girls and volunteers is important to us. Refugees and immigrants, regardless of documentation status, are equally human, equally precious, equally Girl Scouts. So are their families.
And we’re hearing from girls that they’re scared. Girls are talking to their troop leaders about their fears that they will have to leave the U.S.—their home and where many of them were born. These conversations are part of their lives, part of their Girl Scout experience. In response, Girl Scouts are doing activities to support each other, from writing poems to sharing their dreams for the future. Many are talking about how they rely on their sister Girl Scouts. We’re glad to offer a place for girls to talk about what they’re seeing and hearing in their communities, and brainstorm how they want to respond. But girls shouldn’t have to live with this much fear.
The foundation of Girl Scouts as an inclusive, safe space for all girls means those of all racial, religious and ethnic heritages. We want every girl to know that she has a safe space with Girl Scouts. Girl Scouts of Western Washington is committed to doing all that we can to protect girls’ privacy and are calling on Girl Scouts of the USA to do the same.
Through our Diversity Initiative over the last four years, we’re intentionally working to erase barriers to access to our programs for girls and volunteers who’ve not traditionally seen Girl Scouts as a place for them. That’s important because while no one organization is a magic solution, we know Girl Scouts can have a powerful impact in the life of a girl. Those opportunities should be equally available to all girls.
It’s important now more than ever to stand up for what we believe in. Girl Scouts especially should be a safe space for girls and their families, because girls are the leaders we need.
Resources for refugee and immigrant families: