The Radical Monarchs is a film directed by Linda Goldstein Knowlton that spotlights a group of young girls in Oakland, California who created an activism organization to fight for social justice. The film had its Los Angeles premiere on March 7, 2020, during the annual Los Angeles Outfest Fusion Film Festival.
The story follows how Anayvette Martinez and Marilyn Hollinquest formed a leadership troop of young girls of color to support empowerment through social justice by being a radical community member. Anayvette was a mother working as an organizer at the time when realizing that her daughter and friends needed a place in their community that would nurture growth and empowers young girls of color in ways that weren’t available through already existing programs. They needed something that would educate girls about the events that were happening in their environment, something that was beyond selling cookies. The Radical Monarchs came together by creating a sisterhood program that allowed the girls to learn about culture, community, awareness, activism, and what it means to be a person of color and to be proud of their identities.
Throughout the film, you can see the different types of struggles that the women and the girls go through and why the girls begin to use their bond to create a voice for themselves by standing up against the injustices that they face. The girls began using their voices during protests and through activism on topics such as police brutality, affordable housing, LGBT+ rights, and by celebrating what it means to feel liberated as young girls of color. The Radical Monarchs found guidance through important conversations and partnering up with leaders of organizations such as Black Lives Matter and the Black Panthers.
Attention from media outlets grew as word began to spread about the Radical Monarchs and they received a lot of negative comments, even threats because of the things they began fighting for. A FOX News anchor said, “Wouldn’t it be better to teach these girls to be leaders and learn to sew instead of raising little racists?” The comments didn’t stop the girls from sharing their message. In fact, they even got louder by making it to the state capitol to see the inner workings and were also able to address some of the hardships they were facing to the Oakland City Council.
The Radical Monarchs began expanding by recently opening 4 new troops around the Bay Area. It has not been an easy task for the founders to find the funding and support to continue creating age-appropriate safe spaces for friendship and learning that cannot exist in academic institutions. However, the girls have received assistance through The NOVO Foundation to keep the journey moving forward.
We Are The Radical Monarchs is a film that evokes emotions and is extremely inspiring to see how positive reinforcements can make such an impact on the empowerment of our youth. I recommend watching the film if you have an opportunity to see the full story for yourself.
You can support the troop by reaching out to people and doing the work through one-on-one connections to get support and also by sending donations through their website http://radicalmonarchs.org/ or you can go to https://wearetheradicalmonarchsmovie.com/ to see if the film will be showing near you. Stay up to date with The Radical Monarchs by following them on IG and Facebook.
Written by Amelia Davis