Most Girl Scouts are busy filling people’s lives with
joy by hawking their lauded cookies (new gluten-free flavors included) and donning sashes brimming with insignias for outdoor activities and the like. But, one
group of Oakland-based young women has a slightly different point of view
on what community involvement means.
Identifying as the Radical Brownies, the group of eight- to 12-year-old girls offers a
social-justice spin on the Girl Scouts of America program — although they are
in no way affiliated. Radical Brownies study gender diversity, human rights, and significant
cultural movements and actively participate in political conversations
in the East Bay. For instance, the girls joined the peaceful demonstrations in Oakland surrounding the court decisions involving Michael Brown and Eric Garner. They even pay homage to the Black Panther and Brown Berets movements by wearing brown toppers.
The program was cofounded by Lupita Martinez — along with
her mother, Anayvette Martinez, and a friend, Marilyn Hollinquest, both of whom have
experience in programming for LGBTQ youth as well as youth of diverse backgrounds — who, at the
young age of 10, saw a lack of socially driven
organizations for girls her age and race.
According to the Radical Brownies' Facebook page, the program
currently enables "young girls of color to form fierce sisterhood,
celebrate their cultures, and contribute radically to their communities." Instead of badges for, say, storytelling or water conservation, the girls receive accolades for
achievements like self-love and justice.
While this isn’t the first
time the Bay Area has been at the forefront of progressive Girl Scout ideology, it may be the most significant. We think the message of the Radical Brownies is not only powerful but absolutely needed. It is never too early to start exploring these conversations, and it's inspiring to see young women taking an interest in such important topics.