Did you know: In our most recent Voices Count surveys of 500 Girl Scouts all over the Northern California region, a resounding 95% of our young people shared a commitment to standing up for racial justice, gender equity and belonging for LGBTQ+ and gender-expansive youth! Alongside Girl Scouts USA and councils across the country, GSNorCal is reshaping our policies and practices to align with antiracist values.
As leaders in the long-term anti-racism work at Girl Scouts, we get this question a lot: Why is talking about race and racism, and all forms of oppression,so crucial, and how did we get started nurturing DEIB at GSNorCal?
In 2016, Girl Scouts of Northern California began our journey to work towards becoming a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization where girls, their families, and all Girl Scouts feel they belong. Research conducted by third-party consultants identified that Girl Scouts of Northern California was not serving girls in low-income communities equitably. In this process of assessing where we were falling short in our outreach, opportunities, and support for all girls, we committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) as part of our organization’s core values!
Starting in 2018, we received the generous support of the Packard Foundation to participate in the “Equity Action Network,” an 18 month-long learning cohort of 10 nonprofit organizations seeking to advance racial equity through their work, facilitated by PolicyLink. In 2019, Girl Scouts of Northern California made it mandatory for staff and board members to participate in DEIB trainings, led by our consultants at Hella Social Impact . In 2020, our Board adopted and approved Girl Scouts of Northern California’s Culture Code for Equity & Belonging and our Volunteer Policy for Building an Equitable Community. In 2021, a volunteer Courage Cohort was launched to test and develop DEIB trainings for Girl Scouts volunteers. This cohort of volunteers trained with our equity consultants for 8 months, learning together and forming a think tank to develop further training that all volunteers could access. As a result, we launched the Culture Code Lab for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging in 2023. This interactive online course is a chance for every GSNorcal to deepen their understanding of systems of oppression in order to help build the antiracist future our Scouts deserve.
Girl Scouts of Northern California, at the staff and volunteer level, are committed to the life-long learning journey to be antiracist, and to nurture belonging for BIPOC (Black People, Indigenous People and People of Color), LGBTQIA+ identified, gender diverse, disabled, and/or neurodiverse girls, volunteers, and families.