Girl Scouts of Western Washington has been, is and will continue to be committed to racial and ethnic equity and inclusion. What’s clear to me is we need to do more. As a human, as a white woman, as your CEO, I need to do more.
As always, I’m learning from my staff. On Friday, a member of our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion team who is Black shared Bringing Black Trauma to Work, which helped me recognize I’ve been sitting in my privileged place blind to the reality of how my colleagues and friends of color are living through these days. I’ve shared this article with the GSWW Board and Community Committee members as well as posted it to my LinkedIn page. To my white peers, I ask you to please consider what action you can take to spread this awareness. Allyship matters.
To our members who are people of color, I don’t even know what to say. That Black and Brown communities are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 is horrifying. That white woman’s actions in New York are indefensible. What happened to George Floyd is obscene. That his murder is yet another is shattering. That you and your families endure what you do is also horrifying, indefensible, obscene, shattering. None of those words, no words, can sufficiently capture it.
But that is why GSWW believes Black Lives Matter. While everyone is important, Black and Brown people have been and continue to be impacted in ways that other communities--especially white people--aren't. We’re striving to authentically speak to that through efforts to recruit and retain a diverse workforce, which for us includes both volunteers and employees, to bring opportunities to Girl Scouts including our Black and Brown girls. Then provide our entire workforce with training on disrupting systems of oppression. Building knowledge and awareness that will then lead to the skills needed for action and advocacy to achieve the change our communities need. That our girls will depend on.
My 20 year-old son went to the protests in Seattle last Saturday. I was glad he went and also afraid, knowing that mine was a white woman’s fear for her white son. Then I read I Need White Mamas to Come Running. I’m running. I’ll keep running, doing my utmost to listen and learn from those around me so GSWW can do all we can to bring change.
With deep gratitude,
Megan Ferland, CEO