I remember the exact place I was when I decided I was going to run for Congress.
The day was September 4, 2018 while I was driving on I20 near Oak Cliff in Dallas. At the time, I was working as the District Director for the Texas Chingona, Victoria Neave, the State Representative for House District 107. I was headed home from work and heard the news on NPR. I cried.
I cried with joy because it was people like me, and more specifically, women like me, that were rising. I was inspired.
I use to work for the man that was my congressman while living in Fort Worth. He was bought, disconnected, and uninformed. I ended up resigning as a congressional staffer because I started to figure out who I was politically and that all democrats were not the same. It wasn't long before mi amiga, Rep Neave, scooped me up and gave me a place to work.
Victoria and others would always tell me I would run someday, but I never wanted it. I saw how so many elected officials didn't want to "rock the boat" on issues because of their donors. But after seeing what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and then Ayanna Pressley did and why they did it, I knew I had to step up. I called my friend that I was organizing with and told her, "THAT'S IT! I can't take it anymore." She said, "you're gonna do it, aren't you?" I responded with, "f*ck yeah... I'm gonna run."
Here's where I'm going with this, everyday people don't run for office. Working-class people aren't raised for this sh*t. But the thing is that we should be the ones running because we know all too well how the system f*cks us and how broken it is. Farmworkers, bartenders, janitors, and even organizers should be the ones running. And that's what's happening.
Progressives made significant strides during the 2020 elections. Not only did we win key races against Trump loyalists but also against these show-timing democrats that are bought...the politricks, as I like to call them. We got progressives like Jamaal Bowmen, Raphael Warnock, Monique Worrell, Harold Pope Jr., and others who are stepping up because they can no longer allow these elected officials to run rouge and not be accountable to the people. Our people never plan on running, but there comes a time when we reach a point in the road where we have to change the route to get to the change we deserve.
A little over a week ago, one of my hermanas in the fight shared with me her intention to run for Congress. I was overwhelmed with joy. The thing that got me was a particular comment she made, "I wasn't supposed to run. I'm scared." It made me cry because I remember thinking the same thing and being afraid of failing my people.
I met Brittany in December 2018. She was one of a group of veterans and AOC organizers that I traveled to Tijuana with after Trump signed the Zero Tolerance Policy. Brit was one of two Latina veterans that I would be connected with from that moment on. The first time I heard her talk, I was a girl fan. Any time that she and my fellow chingona Pam Campos-Palma spoke, I clung to every word because I was hearing and learning things that I had never known before. A lot of it was due to the shock of how the military, Congress, and corporations work to keep us in these wars.
Since meeting her, I have continued to follow everything she has done and even organize with her in the same space. Like I say, I'm a sinvergüenza, and Britt is also unapologetic about what she stands for. She has stood up against the military while she was on active duty, called out corruption, fought for immigrants and indigenous people, organized and volunteered on people-run campaigns. Now, she's doing the thing she never imagined doing, running for Congress. but don't get it twisted; that doesn't mean that she's not equipped to run. If anything, she is more than qualified. She has lived through the lies and abuses that the military and this country puts on people like us. Britt has stood toe-to-toe with the abusers and enablers. She has organized on the ground for accountability, action, and more. Her progressive platform, boldness to call sh*t out, and the fact that she’s honoring the legacies of fierce women who came before us like Shirley Chisholm shows her commitment to roots. Brittany is exactly what Staten Island and Congress need right now.
So, there is always an ask. We need leaders like Brittany to serve as our representatives because people like her will not play f*ck-f*ck games. All the things that these homegrown politicks know are things that we can learn, but all the experiences we have, they will never learn because they are lived. Support my hermana in power, a real chingona, and the candidate for New Yorks's 11th Congressional District, Brittany Ramos DeBarros. Follow her (Twitter, Facebook, IG), subscribe to her campaign, and DONATE!!!!
Unbossed, Unbought, Unafraid!