The following is a personal message from Nancy Wright, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana…

As I watched the events unfold in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend, I could hardly believe my eyes. Words are inadequate in describing the violence, racism and hatred that was broadcasted throughout the world. My condolences go out to those who were injured and the families of Heather Heyer, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke M. M. Bates.

Throughout the weekend, I kept thinking to myself, how do I explain what happened to our girls, who are a shining example of kindness and compassion? How do we make sense of senseless tragedy?

And then it hit me—-it is during times like these that we must join together so that our actions and voices are louder than those who carry hate in their hearts. In fact, being a positive example of leadership is something Girl Scouts have been doing since our founding in 1912.

Take, for example, the interfaith event where Muslim and Christian Girl Scouts joined together for fun, fellowship and friendship. Gatherings like this truly embody the Girl Scout Law: “I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, and to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout.”

Or more recently, there are the young girls who have been placing “kindness rocks” around our camps and communities. The rocks, which include brief motivational messages, are intended to inspire others to complete random acts of kindness.

As Chicago Tribune columnist Heidi Stevens once noted, “we should all be more like Girl Scouts.”

Our girls get it. Indeed, they are teaching the world to be kinder, more compassionate and more understanding through their words and actions.

Because as Nelson Mandela said: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

What is one action you’ll take to spread love and kindness this week? How will you take the lead like a Girl Scout? Let us know in the comments.

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