The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) issued a statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement on Monday, calling it a “human rights issue” and saying a “diversity and inclusion” merit badge will be a requirement for Eagle Scouts going forward.
The BSA executive committee in its statement expressed regret for “not [being] as brave as we should have been” on using the group’s platform to address racism.
“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 committee said.
“The Boy Scouts of America stands with Black families and the Black community because we believe that Black Lives Matter. This is not a political issue; it is a human rights issue and one we all have a duty to address.”
The merit badge, the BSA said, will “build on components within existing merit badges, including the American Cultures and Citizenship in the Community merit badges, which require Scouts to learn about and engage with other groups and cultures to increase understanding and spur positive action.”
The organization will also review its property names and insignia to ensure it is compliant with its existing ban on Confederate imagery as well as ensuring that “symbols of oppression are not in use today or in the future.”
The announcement comes after the organization filed for bankruptcy protection in February amid a surge of sexual abuse lawsuits.