To our GSCSNJ Family:
This is a hard time. As we continue to be challenged with the social
and economic impact of COVID-19, the injustices and resulting outrage
across our nation reminds us that there is another virus which has too
long ravaged people of color in our country ~ racism. We reel at the
tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and
are shocked at the deplorable behavior of Amy Cooper. We feel angry,
saddened, frustrated, scared.
In our nation, the lives of black and brown men, women, and children are fundamentally different from their white neighbors, colleagues, and friends. As leaders in the Girl Scout movement, our charge is to ensure that all girls have equal access and opportunity to the life-changing opportunities we provide as we strive to make our communities and world a better place for all.
The official statement issued by Sylvia Acevedo calls for each of us to be leaders in our community ~ to speak up, speak out, and demand justice for all. We stand for equity and inclusion. It is our job to not only share and impart these values to the girls we serve but also to model them so that they can see living examples of the adults we want them to be. We are not perfect, and we have work to do, and we are committed.
To our black sisters and brothers ~ I cannot imagine your pain. Please know that all of your Girl Scout colleagues, stand beside you - in solidarity, at all times.
To those of us who are white, let's challenge ourselves to take action and be part of the solution - in word and deed. Here's a link to resources that can help you get started, Racial Justice Action Steps.
Girl Scouts of the USA has developed a vitally important resource of how to Help Your Kids Take Action Against Racism and approach the conversation. It's never too early to talk to your Girl Scout about race, and we hope these resources will help to talk to kids of all ages about tolerance, race, and equality. For girls who are ready to lead positive change through civic action, we encourage them to take the first step with their level's Citizen Badge.
Our Council's commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity - in all we say and do - is steadfast. Our national President Kathy Hannan, in her statement this week said:
"We are a value-based organization, and we must also recommit ourselves to civic engagement and learning—attending meetings, community organizing, and taking an active part in holding each other and our leaders accountable on topics of racial equality and social justice. It’s critical that we learn the lessons of history and the many unconscious and overt ways that racism and bias manifest. There is no doubt that we must work harder to ensure that past injustices don’t continue to play out."
Our strength in upholding the values of our movement can be part of the positive change that's needed today. As always, I welcome your ideas and input as to how GSCSNJ can be a more inclusive Girl Scout organization. Please join me in this opportunity to do better and to be better — as Girl Scouts and as human beings.
Yours in Girl Scouting,
Statement from GSUSA CEO, Sylvia Acevedo:
At Girl Scouts, we seek to instill in girls the fundamental values
of respect for all, inclusivity, equity, and the belief that injustice
anywhere is a slight to justice everywhere.
For more than 100 years, we have prepared girls to be leaders in our world, to speak up, speak out, and take action for fairness, equality, civility, and compassion for all people, and to arm them with the courage, confidence, and character they need to make our world a better place. Girl Scouts will always stand for justice, for respect, and for the inherent value and worth of each individual who makes up the beautiful and richly diverse tapestry of the United States.