What a gut-wrenching and emotional time this has been. Our community is in so much pain following the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many others before them. Amid the pain and frustration, we are also coming to terms with the fact that the images playing over and over on our screens represent the manifestation of a fear that is real every day for Black Americans. To our black and brown sisters and brothers, know that our Girl Scout Movement stands in solidarity and in sisterhood with you.
As the eyes of the world turn to Houston this week for George Floyd’s homegoing services, where do we go from here united as families, communities and as an organization? Amid the pain and frustration, I see hope in the number of young people of all colors and backgrounds linking arms and raising their voices for change. And I see hope in the promise of our organization – and our amazing girls.
In the 1950’s, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr referred to the Girl Scouts as a “force for desegregation.” Our council was one of the early examples. Do you know the history of Camp Robinwood? In the 1940's our communities were segregated, and our African American sisters didn’t have a camp. Four African American businessmen got together and raised the money to purchase Camp Robinwood so that African American girls would have a place of their own, but they didn’t designate it for just African American girls. The deed states that “no Girl Scout affiliated with the grantee camp shall ever be denied such use of property because of her race, color or creed.” That was 1949. Soon after, all of our camps were desegregated, long before schools and other institutions.
In 1975, Dr. Gloria Scott made history as the first black national president of Girl Scouts of the USA. Dr. Scott grew up in Houston’s Third Ward and attended Jack Yates Senior High School – just like George Floyd.
But we still have work to do as a community.
As GSUSA chief executive officer Sylvia Acevedo recently said, “The problem of racism can feel enormous, but our individual responses don’t have to be. One answer is greater civic engagement. There is a wide array of actions—large and small—we can all take to have an impact, from attending meetings and community organizing, to galvanizing voters to exercise their civic duty, and even running for office.”
As you talk to your daughters and sons about racism and the disturbing images invading our reality and our screens, there are excellent resources on the civic action section of the Raising Awesome Girls blog site, including How to Talk to Your Daughter About Scary News, Why Tolerance isn’t Working and Help Your Kids Take Action Against Racism.
Our commitment to you is that Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council will continue this important work. Thank you for ensuring the next generation of female leaders have the courage, confidence and character to lead against injustice and make our world a better place.
With love and respect,
Council President and Chair of the Board of Directors
Chief Executive Officer