‘We Are The Radical Monarchs’ Introduces a Girl Troop That’s Woke

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Jul 09, 2020

Some national scout organizations teach children how to make fires and learn to swim, but Oakland’s Radical Monarchs are teaching young girls how to become social justice warriors. “We Are The Radical Monarchs,” which will air on PBS’s documentary series POV and its website on July 20, tells the story of this activist group.

Directed by Linda Goldstein Knowlton, the doc follows co-founders Anayvette Martinez and Marilyn Hollinquest, two queer women of color, who created Radical Monarchs to inspire and introduce girls of color to be activists around self-empowerment. “I think self-empowerment, self-worth…is critical and it’s really lacking in our media, it’s really lacking in our educational system, so how do we create alternative spaces where that can happen?” Martinez asks in the trailer.

Hollinquest and Martinez’s answer was a troop that would learn about LGBTQ+ allyship, environmental racism, disability justice and more. Viewers will meet the inaugural troop of 10 and journey with them over three years as they complete courses and earn badges with names like “Radical Beauty,” “Radical Bodies” and “Radical Roots.”

“Radical means just being yourself. What makes you unique, what makes you pretty, what makes you cool. That’s what radical is,” eight-year-old Amia said in a press release. 

And they also participate in what some would call radical activities. There might be a meeting on what defines Pride or the gender spectrum. There could be sit-downs with an original Black Panther Party member, marches with Black Lives Matter or even a road trip to the California legislature to advocate for community issues. 

“This is a womxn of color empowerment story at its core; as an intersectional feminist and a filmmaker, it is my intention to amplify womxn and girls’ voices,” filmmaker Goldstein Knowlton said in the press release. “The Radical Monarchs give me hope for the future, and with this film, I can share that hope.”

To witness the radical love and sisterhood among adolescent girls and women of color, tune in to PBS, watch on POV.org or watch the trailer below, courtesy of PBS: