Friday, March 30, 2018

A Moment For Our Movement To Be Proud

Last night we learned that the Georgia General Assembly did not pass legislation that would have
named a bridge over the Savannah River in honor of Girl Scouts’ remarkable founder, Juliette Gordon Low. Although we didn’t get the votes we needed, the incredible energy and perseverance behind our effort serves as a testament to the power and potential of our Movement to make meaningful change in the world.

I want to take this moment to thank the thousands of girls, volunteers, and council colleagues who supported the work over the past six months, showing the world the awesome strength of our G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)TM spirit. Through our courageous, collective effort, girls saw how they can use their voices to take action on issues they care about.

I also want to acknowledge how monumental this undertaking truly was and, as a result, how far we’ve come as a Movement. Our historic effort began in October 2017 at G.I.R.L. 2017, when thousands of attendees signed a banner that called for a bridge in Savannah to be named for Juliette—a woman who had, and through her legacy continues to have, an extraordinary influence on the lives of millions of girls. Also around this time, our Movement’s girls, volunteers, staff, and other supporters nationwide signed upwards of 12,000 petitions (!) requesting that the Georgia General Assembly name the bridge in honor of Juliette.

Then in February of this year, more than 400 Girl Scouts of all ages from across Georgia stormed their state capitol to meet face-to-face with lawmakers and urge them to support the effort. State legislators from the Savannah area, influenced by our girls and volunteers, introduced HR 1054 and SR 715 on the House and Senate floors—with Girl Scouts from our Historic Georgia and Greater Atlanta councils standing beside them. And despite resistance by some Georgia lawmakers, our girls simply refused to give up. Their response? “’No’ is not a boundary—it makes me just want to try harder.”

Girl Scouts were so determined in their advocacy that on March 12, 2018, Girl Scouts 106th birthday,
they sent a combined 45,000-plus messages to members of the Georgia General Assembly urging them to support the legislation. In response, a press conference was held with a bipartisan group of legislators who championed the bill, with the aim to convince more legislators to back the measure.

So again, even though in the end we didn’t get the full support we needed, the outcome is far from a loss. We have so much to be proud of, because through this experience, girls saw civic engagement in action—they were civic engagement in action—a shining example of how we can all be catalysts for change with regard to issues that are important to us.

As we know, the future belongs to every G.I.R.L. who believes in her power to change the world—and with this massive, Movement-wide effort, we’ve shown the world just what that looks like.