When Anayvette Martinez’s daughter, a fourth grader, wanted “desperately” to join a girls’ troop like the Girl Scouts of America, it gave Martinez an idea.
“I saw the need for a group that would empower and encourage her to form bonds of sisterhood with other girls in her community,” wrote Martinez on Facebook. “I began to imagine what a radical young girl’s social justice troop looked like; a group that centered and affirmed her experiences as a beautiful and brilliant brown girl against so many societal pressures to conform to mainstream ideals of girlhood.”
Martinez enlisted the help of a friend, Marilyn Hollinquest, and the result was the Radical Brownies: an Oakland, California-based, social-justice-focused girls’ troop. Its mission: to “empower young girls of color so that they step into their collective power, brilliance and leadership in order to make the world a more radical place.”
The group takes its name from the junior division of the Girl Scouts, but is unaffiliated. Instead of camping or selling cookies, these Brownies participate in protests and marches, carrying #BlackLivesMatter banners and wearing small brown berets to pay homage to the Brown Berets and the Black Panthers.