Boy Scouts of America will add diversity and inclusion merit badge

FILE - This Feb. 4, 2013 file photo shows a close up of a Boy Scout uniform badge during a news conference in front of the Boy Scouts of America headquarters in Irving, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

RALEIGH – A letter from the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Committee said on June 15 that the organization will add a diversity and inclusion merit badge to attain the status of Eagle Scout.

“There is no place for racism – not in Scouting and not in our communities. Racism will not be tolerated” says part of the letter.

“We condemn the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and all those who are not named but are equally important. We hear the anguish, feel the heartbreak, and join the country’s resolve to do better.”

The letter continues, saying that the organization stands with Black families and Black Lives Matter.

“The twelve points of the Scout Law that define a Scout are all important, but at this moment, we are called on to be brave. Brave means taking action because it is the right thing to do and being an upstander even when it may prompt criticism from some. We realize we have not been as brave as we should have been because, as Scouts, we must always stand for what is right and take action when the situation demands it.”

The Boy Scouts will also review programs to ensure diversity and inclusion are engrained at every level for participants and volunteers and apply a standard that promotes racial equality and denounces racism, discrimination, inequality and injustice. It will also require additional diversity and inclusion training for all employees beginning July 1.

Conducting a review of property names, events and insignia, in partnership with local councils, to build on and enhance the organization’s nearly 30-year ban on use of the Confederate flag and to ensure that symbols of oppression are not in use today or in the future.

“These are our next steps but certainly not our last” says the letter, which is signed by the 12-person committee.

The full letter can be read here.