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CEO Update: What does it mean to be inclusive and anti-racist?


Dear members and friends,

To every person who has faced racism, we see you. We hear you. We respect you. We stand with you.

Our nation is in pain. It has been 401 years since colonists purchased the first enslaved Africans on our shores, 155 years since slavery was abolished, and only 66 years since segregation became officially illegal. Racism is not a thing of our past, and the real and violent consequences of racist policies are felt every day, particularly by Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color.

I am proud that Girl Scouts has always strived to be inclusive, and correct ourselves when we fell short of our ideals. Today, to make the world a better place for all people, I believe we as individuals and as an organization must reaffirm our commitment to inclusion, and commit to be antiracist.  

What does it mean to be inclusive and antiracist? 

In the words of Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist: "We know how to be racist. We know how to pretend to be not racist. Now let's know how to be antiracist." 

It means that Girl Scouts of Northern California commits to having courageous conversations about race. We will work to stop the oppression of Black people, Indigenous people, and other People of Color in our organization and the world. We promise to actively listen and learn about how we can become more inclusive at Girl Scouts, so each and every one of us can feel that we belong. We will learn how to support each other and our girls to make the world a better place for all. 

My commitment to you is that Girl Scouts of Northern California will invest in this work. We are currently working with thought leaders in the field to develop and deliver a guidebook, series of trainings, and task force to help meet these goals.  I want to hear your ideas. And I want to know what and how you think we can do better.   

To start or continue your own journey and learn more about antiracism, I encourage you to explore the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture’s new site: Talking about Race, which was launched  May 31, 2020. Through this resource with sections for parents, caregivers, educators, and concerned individuals, the museum “aims to help individuals and communities foster constructive discussions on one of the nation’s most challenging topics: racism, and its corrosive impact.”  

We mean it when we say that inclusion and antiracism are essential to our mission as Girl Scouts to make the world a better place for all people.

I encourage you to take care of yourselves during this overwhelming time, and support each other in this work. 

In Girl Scouting,
Marina H. Park, CEO
Girl Scouts of Northern California