Friday, January 31, 2020

Black History Month: A Time to Celebrate Black Girl Magic

Dr. Gloria Dean Randle Scott, the first Black national president of Girl Scouts of the USA,
reading with Girl Scouts from different troops.
You’ve probably heard of Black Girl Magic. But if you’re wondering what exactly it is, it’s a celebration of the strength, originality, beauty, and resilience of Black girls and women everywhere.

And since February is Black History month, there’s no better time than the present to celebrate the Black Girl Magic that’s shaped the Girl Scout Movement. While we wish we could document all of the myriad contributions of Black girls and women, here we look back on some of the most outstanding moments of Black Girl Magic in Girl Scout history.

In 1913, Black girls in Bedford, Massachusetts, joined the third Girl Scout troop ever formed. The first all-Black Girl Scout troops were established as early as 1917.

In 1924, three full decades before U.S. public schools were desegregated, Josephine Holloway became the first Black Girl Scout troop leader. She opened the door for young Black girls to see their own Black Girl Magic as part of Girl Scouts.

In 1951, more than 97 Black Girl Scouts from 14 regions gathered at the 1951 International Girl Scout Encampment in Home Valley, Washington, to discuss ways to help diverse groups understand one another and find ways to work together. There’s no telling what can happen when Black Girl Magic has an objective in mind and a trusted community behind it.

Then in 1975, Dr. Gloria Dean Randle Scott, the first African American instructor at a predominately White institution, Marion College, became the first Black national president of Girl Scouts of the USA. The Girl Scout Trefoil was redesigned during the last year of her presidency to highlight and add visibility to the diversity of the organization.

More recently, in 2017, Giselle Burgess founded a Girl Scout troop for her own daughter and other girls staying in one of New York City’s transitional living shelters known as Troop 6000. Burgess’s work brought a sense of community and hope for a bright future to girls whose families were struggling. After a lot of national media attention and an outpouring of support, the troop raised enough money to begin similar troops in other city shelters, and now more than 600 girls in New York City shelters have been able to take part in the Troop 6000 program.

Another awesome display of Black Girl Magic is, of course, the girls in our Movement who today continue to push boundaries, think big, and make the world a better place.

Taryn-Marie worked tirelessly to ensure foster kids had the chance to go to college
and was named a National Gold Award Girl Scout in 2019.
Girls like Taryn-Marie, a National Gold Award Girl Scout who, to earn the highest award in Girl Scouting, made it possible for foster kids to have what they need to attend college, or Olivia, a Cadette who founded an organization that assembles hundreds of Easter baskets a year to give to children in local shelters…and countless other Girl Scouts.

While we celebrate the Black Girl Magic at Girl Scouts this Black History Month, we can’t wait to see what comes next as the Black girls and women of the Girl Scout Movement continue to change their communities, open doors, and expand the world.