Of late we have really begun to think a lot about kids and socialization. That they need to be with their peers/kids of the same age; it is super important while they are growing up. As hard as it is for us adults to now be around our friends it is even more so for young people.
When the socialiazation, which comes along with education at the same time, means they are around people who look like them and they don’t feel like the minority or outsiders for once it becomes even more vital. That is what the is offered to young girls of colour who join the Radical Monarchs in the Oakland area.
Started up by two women, Anayvette Martinez and Marilyn Hollingquest, in 2014 as an inclusive alternative to Girl Guides or Scouts for young girls. They wanted a space for young girls of colour in which they would be the focal point. They would learn about their culture and heritage. While at the same time learn how to become activists.
Director Linda Goldstein Knowlton followed the original group (there are now two) around for a period of three years to gain an understanding of what they are all about and what kind of effect they have on the girls who join.
Like they would in Girl Guides or Scouts, the Radical Monarchs work towards badges. Their units/badges include such subjects as LGBTQ allyship, environmental racism and disability justice. They do not, however, sell cookies or the like, what they do is march in Pride and Black Lives Matter protests. They learn about what it means to be an ally of LGBTQ folks. Meet and discuss issues with an original member of the Black Panthers.
Because Anayvette and Marilyn have done such a good job with their first troop there comes demands for more. Because they both work full time jobs their time is already stretched thin as to what they can devote to the Radical Monarchs. They do start up one more troops and train two new leaders.
While most sane people are thrilled with what this group does for young girls of colour there are yahoos such as Sean Hannity of Fox News. Those who see the group as racist because it is not for white girls. Who think the girls are being indoctrinated as radicals. Insert eye roll here.
But what the radical actually stands for in their title and in the group is being respectful of others while still standing up for yourself. Acknowledging that at times it is a radical act to just be your authentic self. The girls here learn to be proud of their themselves and their culture. Gain a sisterhood in the other girls in the group. This sounds like something we all need to be a part of.