*The Girl Scouts of the USA used to segregate Black and white girls. Now the organization has appointed the first Black CEO in its 108-year history.
Former ExxonMobil lawyer Judith Batty has been tapped to serve as interim CEO of the youth leadership organization. She was hired after Sylvia Acevedo, who served as CEO of GSUSA since 2016, announced her departure in August, KITV.com reports.
GSUSA Board Chair Kathy Hannan said, “We are confident that Judith’s experience makes her uniquely qualified to help the Girl Scouts transition into our next chapter and continue to serve our enduring mission as an inclusive, supportive organization that stands ready to help every girl learn and thrive.”
Batty, a former Girl Scout, says her top priority as interim CEO is “to ensure a smooth transition,” and she intends to uphold the organization’s mission of being a “welcoming and inclusive space for every girl.”
Judith Batty has been named interim CEO of Girl Scouts, making her the first Black woman to hold the position. The Girl Scouts was a segregated organization up until the 1950s. Batty is a lifetime member who started in the org as a Brownie. pic.twitter.com/Wy63TDEenj
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) August 19, 2020
“Research shows that girls learn best in an all-girl, girl friendly environment. Girl Scouts is a place where a girl will practice different skills, explore her potential, take on leadership positions — and even feel allowed to fail, dust herself off, get up, and try again,” said Batty.
“As families across the country contend with so much uncertainty and upheaval,” she said, “I am committed to ensuring that the Girl Scouts continues to offer shelter in the storm — a place where all our girls feel welcome, can find community, solidarity, leadership opportunities, and fun, despite the challenging moment we are all collectively living through.”
The Girl Scouts of the USA was originally founded as a movement for mostly white girls in 1912 by Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low. Black girls were commonly left out, or segregated.
“… It is safe to say that in 1912, a time of virulent racism, neither Daisy nor those who authorized the constitution considered African American girls to be part of the ‘all,” history professor Stacy A. Cordery at Iowa State University wrote in her book, “Juliette Gordon Low: The Remarkable Founder of Girl Scouts.”
Today, over 2.5 million girls in America are Girl Scouts.