Girl Scouts Seeks to End Racism Through its Programs - A Message from Loretta Graham, CEO of Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois
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Girl Scouts Seeks to End Racism Through its Programs - A Message from Loretta Graham, CEO of Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois


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As America wrestles with the impact of racism, Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois focuses on the solution. Children often learn racism at home. Girl Scouts teaches another perspective: respect for all, inclusivity and equity. Girls of all races experience equal opportunities to lead, set goals and achieve them. They work together on service projects, learn entrepreneurship and have fun together.

Every February, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts celebrates the diversity, equity and inclusion in Girl Scout and Girl Guide troops. Girls at every level of Girl Scouting participate in World Thinking Day, celebrating the diverse global sisterhood of Girl Scouts + Girl Guides. Troops include girls of all races, ethnicities and abilities throughout the year and ensure everyone is treated fairly.

As an African American female leader, I believe getting to know people of other cultures and races is key to ending racism. My dream is that we all understand people are people, no matter what color a person’s skin is, where they were born, or what religion they belong to. We have similar needs and desires. We all want to live in peace, make a decent living and raise healthy families. Girl Scouts arms girls with the courage, confidence and character to be leaders in their schools, communities and careers. They will be leaders of the next generation’s continued fight to end the impact of racism.

I care deeply about ending racism because I grew up in the Deep South. My father was a sharecropper in rural South Carolina who died when I was a child. My mother was a strong, optimistic woman who worked as a school custodian. She wanted better for her 14 children. So, she talked the school administration into allowing her children to attend the white high school. We lived on the white side of the tracks and were decidedly different because of our mother.

My first assignment in my Girl Scout career was in North Dakota, a place with few black people. I like to say country music star Charley Pride and I were the only two black people there. My 26 years in North Dakota built bridges. My colleagues, Girl Scout volunteers, friends and neighbors learned that I am a lot like them!

Girl Scouts of the USA proclaims “Racism and hate have no place here.” Girl Scouts are preparing for lifelong leadership around critical issues. I invite you to enroll your girl in Girl Scouts

Girl Scouts' National Resources:
How to Help Your Kids Take Action Against Racism
Teach Her How to Fight Injustice
What Our Country Needs Right Now Is You