The Girl Scouts are sticking by their commitment to march in the inaugural parade Friday despite mounting opposition from Trump foes.
The Girls Scouts of the USA issued a statement Thursday confirming that 75 Girl Scouts from the Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital council will march in the Presidential Inaugural Parade, as scouts have done for presidents of both parties since 1917.
At the same time, Girl Scouts will voluntarily also participate Saturday in the Women’s March on Washington and “similar events in communities across the country,” said the organization.
The Girl Scouts stressed that the girls made the final decision. “All girl participation is voluntary, and the girls choose what they do and do not participate in,” said the statement.
The 104-year-old organization has come under intense pressure in the last few days to boycott the parade, as more than 60 House Democrats are planning to do in order to show their opposition to President-elect Donald Trump.
The Girl Scouts’ Facebook page has been deluged with anti-parade comments, and a MoveOn.org petition has gathered more than 160,000 signatures.
“By marching in Donald Trump’s inaugural parade, you are failing to live up to GSUSA’s values,” says the petition. “Please do not make Girl Scouts of the USA party to normalizing racism, misogyny, and fascism. Do not march in the inaugural parade.”
Several commenters on Facebook warned that the Girl Scouts’ participation in the parade was cutting into cookie sales.
“This doesn’t stop the fact that since yesterday, my daughters & several other girls (I’m a leader of 25) have had customers who have asked to cancel their cookie orders or refused to buy this year!” said Rachel Biernat.
Said Michelle Kasik: “As a troop leader, someone who is trying to teach girls to be everything they can be, it is absolutely disgusting that you would allow the Girl Scout name to be tarnished by participating in this farce of an inauguration.”
Sylvia Acevedo, interim CEO of Girls Scouts of the USA, said in an op-ed Thursday that the organization’s legacy is one of “uniting, not dividing.”
“Being truly nonpartisan means that we keep our focus on the girls — girls who are every bit as diverse and varied as the nation they represent,” she said in the op-ed in Time magazine.
Other commenters said they were proud of the Girl Scouts for remaining true to their nonpartisan stance.
“Let these girls enjoy the experience and keep in mind that not everyone is upset about who won the election!” said Ann E. Szipszky. “Other opinions matter, not just yours!”