Following hot on the heels of our Nicole Malliotakis episode was a surprising announcement. Nearly two years before our next election for New York’s 11th District, we already have our first declared candidate ready to take on Malliotakis: meet Brittany Ramos DeBarros.
In today’s episode, our co-hosts Erik Shell and Mary Hetteix will sit down with Brittany to discuss a topic that serves as the center to her progressive organizing: the anti-militarism movement. We’ll dig into how organizing against war was influenced by Brittany’s previous experience as a logistics officer serving in Afghanistan. We’ll explore the dangers of partisanship and how military contractors and war profiteering have left troops tokenized, demoralized, and without basic services. To counter these forces, we’ll explore how our district can engage with a Just Transition framework and invest in demilitarizing our civic systems. By removing our reliance on militarism and nationalism, we can build a leaner government that maximizes health and sustainability.
Quickly jump to key parts of the episode by clicking the links below…
- Interview with Brittany
- Congressional limits
- Broken trust and partisanship
- Summing up
Get Involved with Brittany’s Campaign
As Brittany mentioned at the end of the show, she has started her campaign early because they have a lot of organizing to do. You can get involved by visiting their volunteer signup page, or donating to their campaign.
The Just Transition framework
Throughout the episode, we reference the Just Transition as a starting point for how we properly move away from militarized forms of community investment while minimizing negative impacts on reliant neighborhoods and people. There are lots of explainers online on how the Just Transition works, but one of our favorites is from the Climate Justice Alliance. For a more drilled-down view on how Just Transition would look in the heavily unionized Staten Island, check out the labor summit video below.
Staten Island’s Toxic Weapons Storage Facility
Brittany Ramos DeBarros references a radioactive storage site on Staten Island. This might sound far-fetched, but it’s true: during the Cold War, the Department of Defense stored military-grade Uranium Ore at a site beneath the Bayonne Bridge. The site was a waypoint for nuclear material destined for the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos… and it was kept secret until Freedom of Information requests uncovered proof in the 2000s. It was only until citizens uncovered the truth that the government eventually decided to assess and begin to clean up the site. The Waterfront Alliance has a great background on the history of Staten Island’s radioactive waterfront and the government’s attempts to remediate the site.
Further Reading and Listening…
- Brittany mentions being a fan of our previous episode detailing Nicole Malliotakis’s legislative record… have a listen if you haven’t already!
- Check out the announcement video for Brittany Ramos DeBarros for Congress.
- Brittany has been involved in both About Face (formerly Iraq Veterans Against the War) and the Poor People’s Campaign. Check out their websites to learn more!
- Learn more about the Afghanistan Papers from The Guardian
This episode was recorded on March 13th, 2021 with Erik Shell and Mary Hetteix in our digital studios located in beautiful Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. All post-production and editing was done by our producer, Daniel Hetteix. Our co-host Rachel Brody was not involved in any phase of the production or oversight of this episode.