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Hear Girls’ Voices: Why Girl Scouts Marched in the Inaugural Parade

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By Lidia Soto-Harmon, Chief Executive Officer, Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital

Girl Scouts who marched on January 20th in the Inaugural Parade did so for the chance to witness history, and to learn first-hand about a vital element of the democratic process: the peaceful transition of power. They also had the opportunity to represent Girl Scouts and to stand for women everywhere. This took courage, confidence and character, and it was an opportunity we had to provide them, just as we’ve done for the past 100 years. We are very proud of each of these girls.

At Girl Scouts, we respect the rights of each individual girl and adult member to make their own decisions. Beginning last September, Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors voluntarily signed up to secure an opportunity to participate in the presidential inaugural activities. With the outcome of the election unknown, close to two thousand girls were ready to serve. After the election some declined; however, many remained eager to participate. In the end, we were given the opportunity for 75 Girl Scouts to march in the 58th presidential inaugural parade by the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

Girl Scouts strives to help each girl tap into her leadership potential to develop the courage, confidence and character to make our world a better place. Believe it or not, women had to fight for the right to participate in the inaugural parade back in 1917. Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital has proudly marched or volunteered for 100 years in recognition of that hard fought right. As a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, we are and always will be nonpartisan, and we will never support one political party or candidate over another. This year’s presidential inaugural opportunity was to participate in the parade, and we are so proud to have played that role for our democracy.

Girl Scout members and supporters from across the country reached out to express their concerns for our incoming president who is controversial. We want you to know that we have heard you. Girl Scouts is committed to working with all our political leaders to advance issues important to girls. There is work to be done to ensure that all girls and women feel safe and respected.

Girl Scouts is an inclusive organization. Our girls and their families represent every faith, race, ethnicity, political belief and conviction, as varied as our nation. Yet, we are all able to come together as one Movement and get things done for our girls. Let us be a model for our country. We are all better when we allow different ideas and opinions to flourish. Let’s not give in to disparaging remarks that divide and distract us from our important work of building girl leaders.

We thought it was important that you heard directly from the girls about why they wanted to march. We are an organization that believes in having girls, with their caring adults, make their own decisions. In this video, girls will tell you why they made the choices they made.

Thank you for your feedback and the love you have for Girl Scouts.