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A Social Justice-Focused Alternative To Girl Scouts Is Gaining Popularity

A Radical Monarch wearing a brown uniform with badges

Radical Monarchs,” an emerging organization for Black and Brown youth aged 8 to 11, is gaining recognition as a progressive alternative to the long-established Girl Scouts of the USA.

Founded in 2014 in the San Francisco Bay Area, this unique troop, co-founded by Marilyn Hollinquest and Anayvette Martinez, is dedicated to fostering advocacy skills among children, empowering them to contribute positively to their communities and strive for a more just and joyful world.

A Radical Monarch wearing a brown uniform with badges
Photo courtesy of Radical Monarchs / Illustrated by Good Good Good

The organization, now boasting 104 enrolled children in cities like Denver, Minneapolis, and Washington, has introduced a distinctive badge system.

In contrast to traditional badges focusing on activities like first aid or painting, Radical Monarchs’ badges delve into crucial social justice issues.

For instance, the “Radical Roots” badge encourages historical exploration, with troop members in Richmond, California, visiting the Rosie the Riveter National Historical Park to learn about the contribution of Black women during World War II. 

Other badges cover topics such as consent, self-defense, and fostering respect for individuals who are plus-size or disabled.

Several merit badges including Radical Pride, Radical Healing, Radical Love, Radical Coding, and Radical Media
Photo courtesy of Radical Monarchs

The genesis of Radical Monarchs can be traced back to co-founder Martinez’s reluctance to enroll her daughter, Lupita, in a local Girl Scouts troop due to its lack of diversity. 

Wanting an organization that centered on the experiences of young girls of color and awarded badges based on social justice issues rather than conventional activities, Martinez, supported by Hollinquest, initiated the Radical Monarchs troop.

As Radical Monarchs prepares to celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2024, the founders are actively considering expanding to new locations, with applications received from cities like Columbus, Ohio; Long Beach, California; and Brooklyn, New York.

Why is this good news?

Radical Monarchs march with a banner, with their fists raised in the air
Photo courtesy of Radical Monarchs

Radical Monarchs addresses the need for greater inclusivity and representation in youth organizations. 

By specifically catering to Black and Brown children aged 8 to 11, the organization ensures that girls of color see themselves reflected in leadership roles and activities, fostering a sense of belonging. 

Radical Monarchs continues to provide a vital and empowering experience for young girls of color, offering hope for a more inclusive and equitable future.

Article Details

December 8, 2023 7:24 AM
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