These Monarchs can fly….The first thing that strikes you, and stays with you far after the end of director Linda Goldstein Knowlton’s documentary We Are the Radical Monarchs, is the girls. There’s a 99% likelihood you will develop a fierce love for them. The film covers the Girls Scouts alternative empowering girls of color started in 2014, following founders Anayvette Martinez and Marilyn Hollinquest for three years, as they build their first troop of the Radical Monarchs.
Building self-confidence and pride, creating a safe place and a tight sisterhood, and fostering a sense of social justice and acceptance of all identities, perspectives, and experiences is what the Radical Monarchs is all about, and you see that in every scene of the film. You see that in every girl, and it’s inspiring. It’s also a reminder that anyone can make a difference, and right about now, every one of us needs to feel like we have the power for change.
Seeing the girls as they expand their understanding, and watching co-founders expand their reach by slowly adding more troops, will keep audience members not just fascinated but rooting for them all. This is especially true when we are shown the reaction of more conservative members of the media, who declare the whole enterprise as racist and bigoted. Through the criticism and the threats, to paraphrase Maya Angelou, ‘still, they rise’. Martinez and Hollinquest are potentially building the next Angelous, and Roxane Gays, and Ava DuVernays, and Dolores Huertas and AOCs.