‘We cannot use a name that causes harm’: Girl Guides of Canada renames ‘Brownies’

The Girl Guides of Canada is changing the name of its Brownies branch in an effort to create “more inclusive spaces” for racialized girls.

The organization says it’s heard from “youth, racialized folks, current, and former Girl Guides members” who’ve said the old name “causes harm.”

“We are sorry,” the Girl Guides of Canada says in a video posted online.

“We said that you’d be accepted, respected, and included. But we know that’s not always felt true. It’s clear that it’s time to make a change. We cannot use a name that causes harm.”

Girl Guides of Canada says it wants girls to “feel welcome and proud to belong” to the organization, adding it hopes the name change will encourage more children to see the guides as “a space where they can just be themselves.”

Brownies is a branch of the Girl Guides for girls aged seven to eight. Typically meeting about once a week, girls are taught various skills through activities.

Girl Guides of Canada says current members will help decide what the new name will be. Members will be invited to choose from a shortlist of two names at the end of November.

After it’s announced in January, the new name will be phased in across the Girl Guides’ platforms and materials. The organization notes that while it’s working as fast as it can to phase out the old name, it may still show up “in resources and online for a period of time.”

“Girl Guides of Canada will build a better world, for girls, by girls. You are the catalyst to create that world, and we will continue to listen and grow, to be a place where every girl knows she belongs,” the group says.

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