Main content

We Are The Radical Monarchs

Set in Oakland, a city with a deep history of social justice movements, WE ARE THE RADICAL MONARCHS documents the Radical Monarchs - an alternative to the Scout movement for girls of color, aged 8-13. Its members earn badges for completing units on social justice including being an LGBTQ ally, the environment, and disability justice.

The group was started by two fierce, queer women of color, Marilyn Hollinquest and Anayvette Martinez, as a way to address and center Anayvette's daughter's experience as a young brown girl. Their work is anchored in the belief that adolescent girls of color need dedicated spaces and that the foundation for this innovative work must also be rooted in fierce inter-dependent sisterhood, self-love, and hope.

The film follows the first troop of Radical Monarchs for over three years, until they graduate, and documents the co-founders' struggle to respond to the needs of communities across the US and grow the organization after the viral explosion of interest in the troop's mission to create and inspire a new generation of social justice activists.

'If you're looking for signs of hope and are struggling to believe real, lasting change is possible, you will find it in this joyful, powerful, uplifting documentary. The Radical Monarchs are many things: the dream of two queer feminist women of color who want for girls what they did not have growing up; a collection of passionate, willful young activists centered in their power; and a direct challenge to our assumptions about what girls can and should be doing with their natural curiosity, sharp minds, and innate sense of injustice. This bold intergenerational project is the deepest expression of love lived out loud.' Lyn Mikel Brown, Professor of Education, Colby College, Co-founder, Hardy Girls Healthy Women and SPARK Movement, Author, Powered By Girl: A Field Guide for Supporting Youth Activists

'Uplifting...Timely...Most impressive are the girls themselves. Over three years, the girls grow from curious pre-tweens to experienced social justice activists. If movements are judged by embodying the change they seek, the first generation of Radical Monarchs is a heartening success.' Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times

'Whether they are clenching their fists high up in the air at a Trans Lives Matter march or wearing their brown berets and vests showcasing colorful badges like 'Black Lives Matter' and 'Radical Beauty,' the documentary offers real hope about a future generation of fierce Brown and Black girls ready to put in the work to make social justice more than just a dream.' Luis Luna, Latino Rebels

'Honest and hopeful...Viewers get to see what empowered girlhood - centered in intersectionality, inclusivity and strength - looks like in action.' Jane Claire Hervey, Forbes

'This illuminating and inspiring film shows what powerful political education with children looks like. Radical Monarchs exposes the challenges of securing funding to scale social justice work - even in the face of significant community demands. It showcases the radical beauty of young Black and Latinx girls finding their place in the long arc of the moral universe. It is a film that filled me with hope for a more just tomorrow.' Jerusha O. Conner, Professor of Education and Counseling, Villanova University, Author, The New Student Activists

'Sweet, compassionate documentary...It doesn't take a genius to see a handful of tween girls attaching the name 'radical' to their organization to realize this ain't your sister's Girl Scout troop - they are as woke as they are adorable.' Arnold Wayne James, Dallas Voice

'We Are the Radical Monarchs shows powerful examples of community activism, including the support and sacrifices necessary to engage in transformative leadership and teaching practices. This film contains important insights for educators, leaders, and activists on how young people can develop critical consciousness through group dialogue and collective action.' Lauren Leigh Kelly, Assistant Professor of Urban Teacher Education, Rutgers University

'We Are the Radical Monarchs illustrates the love, sweat and tears that goes into community organizing and social justice work. More than that, it shows the power of women's organizing - and especially the benefits of creating structures and spaces that uplift young women of color. I am ready to follow the lead of the brilliant young women who are the Radical Monarchs. The film's content is suited for a variety of courses in disciplines including Sociology, History, and Gender Studies.' Rachel Einwohner, Professor of Sociology and Political Science, Purdue University

'We Are the Radical Monarchs embodies what I love and value about Oakland. This documentary captures, not only the clear and hard work that the organizers and girls involved in Radical Monarchs put in, but the long history of Black and Brown organizing in the Bay Area, and the effort to fully realize the people who make this city what it is. A timely film.' Andreana Clay, Professor of Sociology and Sexuality Studies, San Francisco State University, Author, The Hip-Hop Generation Fights Back: Youth Activism and Post-Civil Rights Politics

'We Are the Radical Monarchs highlights how young girls of color can create their own political communities, claim power, and act collectively toward their visions for a better world. This engaging film introduces viewers to the hard work and dedication of the activist founders of the organization, and foregrounds the joy, insight, and political capabilities of girls of color. It is a valuable addition to courses on social movements, youth politics, girlhood, and contemporary feminisms.' Jessica K. Taft, Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies, University of California-Santa Cruz, Author, The Kids Are in Charge and Rebel Girls: Youth Activism and Social Change Across the Americas

'In a time when change is both scrutinized and praised, We Are the Radical Monarchs puts the spotlight on the future leaders of America who can possibly neutralize all of that and truly bring progress to a divisive country.' Dino-Ray Ramos, Deadline

'For those enticed by the drama of organizational start-up woes, particularly of the do-gooder kind, [the film] offers intriguing insights...The girls build the vision and the fortitude needed to organize, through their joyous first experiences of comradeship, all of which facilitated by the program's nurturing environment.' Mualimu Yoichi Collins, SF Weekly

'This is an enthralling narrative about women and girls of color leveraging their brilliance, passion, and sense of justice to ignite the collective radical imagination. We Are the Radical Monarchs embraces a vision of social justice work as the most authentic form of human connection, an embodiment of optimism and hope, and an expression of love for community. As a woman of color with two daughters of my own, I cried with joy and longing watching the Radical Monarchs project unfold. As an educator and scholar of leftist social movements, I'm excited by the possibilities the film offers for teachers, community organizers, and, most importantly, youth and young adults. In a historical moment that often feels devastating and difficult to navigate, this film has left my heart full and my hopes high for a just, equitable future.' Dr. Sonia M. Rosen, Lecturer, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education

'What Anayvette and Marilyn have planted as racially and ethnically rich activists, queer, West Coast, other/mothers, is a global model that doesn't need to be scaled up as much as it should be meaningfully rooted any/everywhere there is a cry for humanity and justice. This documentary allows us to follow their work in intimate partnerships with mothers, fathers, elders, businesses, coalitions, and long-standing institutions to serve Black and Brown girls. We get to see dozens of girls and women, just being themselves in the most liberatory ways possible and this reimaging of self - and society - is immeasurable. We Are the Radical Monarchs is a beautiful homage to what it means to love holistically, grow agency, work from ancestral knowledge, and act/teach as a co-conspirator.' M. Billye Sankofa Waters, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, Univ of Washington-Tacoma, Founding Executive Director, Blackgirl Gold Unapologetic

'Wow! We Are the Radical Monarchs pushes ALL of us to see a world of radical possibilities for liberation through the eyes and coming-of-age stories of Black and Latinx girls. The film reveals that young girls can and do challenge the politics of the 21st century by building on the legacies of 1960s and 1970s liberation movements while finding their own voices and building their own legacies. Educators, parents, and organizers as well as historians and scholars of social movements and girlhood will walk away from this film with a sharper analysis of how and why young Black and Latinx girls can lead the charge for social change.' Dara Walker, Assistant Professor, African American Studies, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and History, Penn State University


Main credits

Goldstein Knowlton, Linda (film director)

Other credits

Edited by Arielle Amsalem, Katie Flint; director of photography, Clare Major; music by Gingger Shankar & William Stanbro.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

American Studies
Child Development
Civil Rights
Gender Studies
Human Rights
Latino and Chicano Studies
Mental Health
Queer Studies
Race and Racism
Social Justice
Social Psychology
Women's Studies


Radical Monarchs, young girls of color, social justice, community activists, Anayvette Martinez, Marilyn Hollinquest, Oakland, youth group, LGBTQ, prides, Black Panthers, Black Lives Matters, radical, Latinas, queer, transgender, bisexual, lesbian, Girl Scouts troop, gender identity, sexual orientation, assigned sex, RuPaul, Janet Mock, Street Level Health Project, Fruitvale, know your rights trainings, wage theft clinics, Ferguson, hands up don't shoot, racism, ethnic studies, STEM subjects, community organizing, garment industry, sweatshop labor, homophobia, death threats, teasing, transphobia, sisterhood, community agreements, Donald Trump, University of Missouri, Ms. Magazine, proud of my culture, SF State, Tulare, Cheryl Dawson, police brutality, radical bodies, consent, queer families, fundraising, Protect Oakland Renters, Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, Ayana Stanley Jones, discrimination, police shootings, self defense workshop, fat activism workshop, people with disabilities, Alicia Garza, Anthony Chabot Park, Orlando, gay nightclub fire, raising money, foundations, travel ban, radical advocacy, Pachamama Justice, Sen Holly Mitchell, radical advocacy, Sacramento trip; "We Are The Radical Monarchs"; Bullfrog Films

Related Films

Daughters of the Forest

A group of girls in a remote forest in Paraguay are transformed at an…

Day One

Traumatized Middle Eastern and African teen refugees are guided through…

Still Waters

In his tiny, one-room, after hours, free school in Brooklyn, Stephen Haff…