The Women’s March Saturday was hailed as an unprecedented and historic march by many as millions of women took to the streets of various cities in the U.S., but one group of radical young girls was the icing on the cake.
Dozens of members of a girls troop called Radical Monarchs took to the streets of Oakland, Calif. as they joined hundreds of thousands of protesters at the Women’s March activities. The troop was founded in 2014 by Anayvette Martinez as an alternative to the Girls Scouts with the deliberate focus on women of color and social justice issues.
“Kids are often an add-on to social justice movements ― they are not centered,” Martinez told the Huffington Post Monday. “Our troops are for girls to have a safe space where their identities as young girls of color are centered, where they can have conversations around the issues happening around them and can feel empowered to make a difference.”
Just as in the Girl Scouts, Radical Monarch members earn badges but not for going to the wilderness and learning how to make fire and camp, but for learning about social justice.
A Radical Pride badge is given to the girls who learn about gender and sexuality. Members who learn self-defense skills are awarded the Radical Bodies badge. If a girl meets a former member of the Black Panthers she gets the Radical Roots badge. Other badges include Black Lives Matter badge and Radical Beauty badge.
Martinez said on the Radical Monarch website that she was inspired to form the group when her daughter wanted to join the Girl Scouts. “As she was blooming into a young teen of color, I watched her begin to critically think about and navigate through her identity and radical values.”
Therefore she imagined and then realized a troop where her daughter’s identity and future challenges would be at the center of that group.
“I began to imagine what a radical young girl’s social justice troop looked like; a group that centered and affirmed her experiences as a beautiful and brilliant brown girl against so many societal pressures to conform to mainstream ideals of girlhood.”
The intersectional troop has 24 members that include Black, Latino, Muslim and other girls of color. Martinez hopes to take the Radical Monarchs nationwide and is planning a troop in Washington, D.C.