This past year, I have been working on my Girl Scout Gold Award called To Serve and Protect. It focused on two things– police accountability, and connecting youth to adults (especially police). The first step of the Gold Award Take Action process was completing a documentary (view it here!) focusing on police accountability in conjunction with Gandhi Brigade Youth Media. Creating the documentary took the majority of the time. We started off with research on the topic, and gathering statistics. After this initial research period, my team split into doing different tasks. These tasks included graphic design, music, interviewing people, scriptwriting, and editing. We even got to attend a protest! Even though all of these things took a lot of time, seeing the outcome made it worth it.
After publishing the documentary, the next step was planning the panel discussion. It was hosted on June 5 at a church. Participants in the panel included:
Eddie Ellis: Motivational speaker and founder of One By 1, Inc.
Minister Kenyatta Gilbert: Homiletics Professor at Howard University, author of A Pursued Justice: Black Preaching from the Great Migration to Civil Rights
Thomas Nephew: Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition
Julian Norment: County Executive Liaison to the African American Community (Montgomery County Collaboration Council)
Officer Ana Hester: Montgomery County Police Department
Rick Hart: Maryland State NAACP, Youth and College Division
Please view this recap of the event and panel discussion:
Two articles were written about the event. View them here:
For teens who were not able to attend, here are some tips:
- Stay calm.
- Do not curse at or try to fight police.
- Do not joke around with police officers in serious situations.
- Do not run away– the police are more likely to think you did something wrong.
- You are able to report police to their department if they treat you unfairly.
- You are not obligated to answer questions unless you have a parent or lawyer present.
- You have the right to film a police officer.
I am very honored to have completed this project and hosted this event. I hope to plan and host more in the future!