The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has joined other growing organizations to publicly declare their support for racial equality. They announce the creation and implementation of a diversity and inclusion badge (merit badge) and making it one of the badge to acquire in the requirements to become an Eagle Scout (the highest rank in Boy Scouts). This is to prove their support to the black lives matter movement going on all over the world. The organization mentioned that all their employees will undergo training on diversity and inclusion to curb every racial injustice and also enlighten them more about its harmful effect on the blacks community. The review of a badge, property name, and events will also be conducted to help improve and strengthen the organization’s ban on the use of the confederate flag.
In a letter written to scouting families, the organization consider their roles and stand with black communities in fighting for their rights. They acknowledged their failures and nonchalant attitudes towards the situation for many years. BSA in a statement said they have not been brave enough in calling out racist attitudes, but henceforth, they will strive to always represent what is good and take action in every situation. They also noted it wasn’t political propaganda, but a human right fight that everyone needs to address. The letter continued by saying they are not in support of the “murder” of George Floyd, Breona Tylor, and many other names not mentioned. BSA understands the pain, the cry, and fight for justice and the organization is ready to do anything it takes to stand against it.
Although the timeline for the requirement of the badge and the required curriculum has not been worked out, however, the merit badge will be a part of their “American cultures” and “citizenship in the community”. The Boy Scouts local officials say this great move as shown the component of the organization and its philosophies. The organization said they do not tolerate or accept discrimination. It pledges to do their part by working with communities and the public to make sure all scout leaders and members understand this. The new inclusion and diversity badge will help in building components that mandate Scouts to learn more about cultural diversities and engage in other cultures and groups. This is to ensure that inclusion and diversity are established at each Boy Scouts level and on every section of the program.
Boy Scouts embraces diversity to include gays and girls
Over the years, the non-profit organization has been greatly criticized for its lack of inclusivity. Great step has been taken in becoming more inclusive by eliminating its ban on employees and troops adult leaders that are openly gay. They started accepting members based on the gender listed on their application which opens the door for transgender youth who want to join the organization. More so, they ended their ban and allow youth who are openly gay to participate in their activities. Furthermore, while girls are allowed to participate in many programs like Red Cross, Sea Scouts, for decades, the Boy Scout opens a core program that allows girls in 2017. This has shown their keen interest in diversity and the provision of opportunities for all individuals. They also emphasize on the key value of organizing in training young people on how to work together and build knowledge that will last for a lifetime. These changes happened nearly four-month after the organization filed for chapter eleven bankruptcy protection after hundreds of lawsuits are charged against them for child abuse that has been happening in the organization for many decades. With the state passing of laws that gives long-ago victim’s power to sue for damages, Boy Scouts finances have been greatly strained.
As a super embattled organization, Boy Scouts is willing to adopt many progressive stances because of this issue and they also call on other Christian oriented and traditional organizations to join them in the fight against systemic racism. They promise to include various standards and programs that promote racial equality and denounces racial discrimination and injustice. This is to ensure that no symbol of oppression is used either today or in the future.
In a statement written on their website, the organization reviewed them still have a lot of work to do. They promise to create more environment that respects the blacks and makes the black community feels free, have a sense of belonging, and have equal access outcome and equal access in scouting. They want all black Boy Scouts members both volunteers and employees to know they see them and value them completely.
With three-quarter of their member’s white and black only make up about seven percent according to a survey in 2018, the organization pledged to implement all these new rules to uphold the reputation of the organization and the motor behind its establishment for many decades.