At Ed to Save the World we’re keeping tabs on the increasingly important role of informal education spaces – spaces outside of school that serve to develop students’ knowledge, skills, passions, and attitudes. While schools are struggling to keep up with the demands of the 21st century, it’s exciting to see so many non-school organizations pushing the envelope through innovative programming, from service-learning ventures to makers’ spaces to…the girl scouts?
Well, almost. These aren’t Girl Scouts, they’re “Radical Brownies,” an innovative alternative to the regular scouting programs. Founder Anayvette Martinez drew inspiration for the program from the Black Panthers and Brown Berets, creating a program focused on racial diversity and social justice. Although the program is small, operating with twelve girls of color or mixed-race in Oakland, California, right now, the hope is to spread this type of programming to a more diverse group of participants in more areas of the country.
Instead of earning badges for selling cookies or learning first aid, these Brownies earn their badges for learning about community-police relations (“Black Lives Matter” badge), exploring how Disney princesses define standards of female beauty (the “Radical Beauty” badge), or how to move beyond tolerance to being an ally (“LGBT Ally” badge). There’s even a “Food Justice” badge for learning about sustainable agriculture.
The mission of this group? To “empower young girls of colour to step into their collective power, brilliance and leadership to make the world a more radical place.” This simple, yet profound, mission has lead to transformative experiences for the 8 – 12 year-olds in the program.
“We are–The RADICAL BROWNIES, We Stand For–JUSTICE, We are here to–MAKE THINGS RIGHT”
Wow! Talk about shaping the next generation of strong, justice-minded female leaders! These girls, and the founder of this program, are definitely changing the world!