In celebration of Black History Month, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) is uplifting and applauding the essential work of our Black Girl Scouts, volunteers, and staff in a weekly blog series. Black History Month is a special month that provides all of us the opportunity to celebrate and spotlight Black success, Black voices, and Black leaders in our local and national community.
This week, we are spotlighting a very special Girl Scout leader from Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, Erica Cox, who leads a troop of fifteen Girl Scouts and, with her family, runs the Instagram account @GirlScoutsForBlackLives. The page is a hub of information on Black history, current sociopolitical issues impacting the Black community, and groundbreaking Black women and girls who deserve their flowers. Read on to meet Erica and learn all about her incredible initiative to inspire Girl Scouts across the country.
@GirlScoutsForBlackLives was born out of a necessity to explain the nationwide civil unrest after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor: “It was really hard to explain vocally was what going on because it was really hard for us to take in,” Erica explained, “and my oldest girl is very inquisitive. That’s one of the reasons I started the page, because I thought, ‘I’m going to educate my daughter but I’m also going to educate other people.”
Erica’s urge to educate her girls brought them to a peaceful march where the girls were able to express their anger at the injustices toward the African American community, and eventually, she felt compelled to create a resource for her girls (and everyone else) to remain empowered. “It really became a movement for us. I wanted to represent Black Girl Scouts, give them that voice so they are able to be proud of who they are, what they stand for, and what their history is. I wanted to open their minds up and say, ‘There’s more to history than what they teach you in school.’ The page became a teaching point for everyone,” especially for Girl Scouts and volunteers that don’t always feel represented in the organization.
The @GirlScoutsForBlackLives Instagram has become a family project: “Every day, [my daughter] Michaela brings me a Black history fact. It opens the conversation between us and helps me post! [My daughter] Morgan actually made a slideshow about Harriet Tubman—I love their passion.” Her husband even manages the merchandise they sell!
Erica reflected on her Girl Scout origin story: “I always wanted to be a Girl Scout growing up, but my mother had different reservations.” Like many Girl Scout leaders, Erica became a Girl Scout leader out of necessity and gathered up a troop of girls that continues to meet today. “What motivates me to continue is my girl’s passion behind not just selling cookies, but really wanting to help, be a part of community service, earn the Silver Award. It really pushes me to work hard.”
“The true value of Girl Scouts is the socialization they get; they begin to understand that sisterhood can go beyond blood.”
Thank you, Erica, for speaking to us and sharing your amazing story!
Look out next week for another installment of this series!
Black Girl Magic
From taking civic action for social change to expanding access to clean air and water, to championing STEM education for marginalized populations, to addressing food insecurity, there’s no limit to what Girl Scouts can do—because they show us just that.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
We are asking for all Girl Scouts—girls, volunteers, alums, supporters, families, staff, and our suppliers and service providers—to commit to taking action to make the world a more equitable place. We have a lot of work to do—join us. You can start by signing the Girl Scout Anti-Racism Pledge.
Join the 21 Week Equity Challenge!
United Way of Grundy County and Will County are proud to join United Way of Illinois, and other local United Ways across the state to embark on the “21 Week Equity Challenge” and invites everyone to take this learning challenge.
This free, online learning program will provide lessons and resources for Illinoisans to learn about racial issues and systemic inequalities, together. The “21 Week Equity Challenge” encourages individuals, families, friends, and co-workers to have racial equity conversations to gain a deeper understanding of the impact systemic racism and inequality have on our state and in our local communities.