A group of tween girls chant into megaphones, marching in the San Francisco TransMarch. Holding clenched fists high, they wear brown berets and vests showcasing colorful badges like “Black Lives Matter” and “Radical Beauty.” Meet the Radical Monarchs, a group of young girls of color at the front lines of social justice.
Set in Oakland, a city with a deep history of social justice movements, WE ARE THE RADICAL MONARCHS documents the Radical Monarchs — an alternative to the Scout movement for girls of color, aged 8-13. Its members earn badges for completing units on social justice including being an LGBTQ+ ally, the environment, and disability justice. The group was started by two, fierce, queer women of color, Anayvette Martinez and Marilyn Hollinquest as a way to address and center her daughter's experience as a young brown girl. Their work is anchored in the belief that adolescent girls of color need dedicated spaces and that the foundation for this innovative work must also be rooted in fierce inter-dependent sisterhood, self-love, and hope.
The film follows the first troop of Radical Monarchs for over three years, until they graduate, and documents the Co-Founders struggle to respond to the needs of communities across the US and grow the organization after the viral explosion of interest in the troop’s mission to create and inspire a new generation of social justice activists.
The expected outcome for this lesson plan is students will learn about the herstory of Radical Monarchs and can pull inspiration on how to strategize and cultivate hope in an ever pressing doom & gloom political climate.
A Note from Curriculum Creators Anayvette Martinez & Marilyn Hollinquest
In 2014 when we launched Radical Monarchs, we never imagined we’d spark a movement (or have a film crew follow us for 3 years to make a documentary)! As queer women of color, our herstories are often invisiblized or omitted so we are honored that this film has made it possible to archive our story and lift up the power of centering young girls of color in social justice activism work. In Radical Monarchs we believe that no issue or topic is too big to discuss with our Monarchs. Adults often underestimate the power of young people. Radical Monarchs believe in creating a space where young people’s experiences are centered, no question is too big, and they are a part of creating actionable solutions to empower themselves and their communities. As Cofounders we felt compelled to create this lesson plan as a way to connect our vision to the kind of world we all deserve as seen by viewers of the documentary across classrooms, homes and community centers. The issues rooted in this film are: Social Justice, Feminism, LGBTQ, Allyship, Racism, Gentrification and Empowerment.
A Note to Teachers
Teachers, it is important for you to do a quick word association or brainstorm with your students to see what characteristics of people (age, gender, race, class, ability) your students consider when they hear the following descriptions: protestors, leaders, teachers. Call attention to any patterns you notice as they describe their ideas of what leaders look like and have a conversation where you wonder why? Please remind your students to keep track of what surprised them as they watched the film. Remind them to keep an open mind to all of the topics presented in the film, because many of the topics discussed in the film may be new or different.
Teachers it is also essential that you familiarize yourself with “Intersectionality” and “Intersectional Feminism”, coined by legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw. Below are some resources to help you understand this concept:
- Kimberlé Crenshaw: What is Intersectionality? (YouTube Video)
- Kimberlé Crenshaw at Ted + Animation (YouTube Video)
- The origin of the term 'intersectionality' (website)
- Social Studies
- Ethnic Studies
- Political Science
- Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
Grade Levels: 6-12
In this lesson, students will:
- Assess and evaluate why the need for girls of color spaces are needed and powerful
- Identify and discuss the importance and impact of youth leadership
- Define Intersectional Feminism and name how the Radical Monarchs practice this concept
- Discuss the role fierce sisterhood and community building has in movement building
- Exhibit, engage, and hone active listening skills
- Film clips and equipment to project/screen the film clips
- Chart Paper
- Half sheets of lined paper
Four 60-minute class periods to watch the film and complete the activities.