Author: Brandy Brooks

8 Weeks to Win for Workers

8 Weeks to Win for Workers

I was 10 years old when I started my first job – I was a delivery girl for a local newspaper in Reston, VA. I remember my mom driving our minivan in the early dawn light, dropping off papers to the apartment complexes in our neighborhood.

At 12, I started babysitting – becoming an important part of the childcare network for my neighbors. At 16, I was working as a waitress, helping to supplement the income my mother brought in as she raised four girls on her own.

I earned my Bachelor of Design Studies while working full-time at an architecture firm, and later worked my way through graduate school for my Master in Public Administration. Like so many students in our county, I spent my days at the office and my nights and weekends on campus or doing homework – or organizing with other students to improve campus life and get more support for student activities.

I’ve worked in architecture, nonprofits, IT, and as administrative staff. I’ve also been a nonprofit senior manager, supervising interns (paid), admins, program staff and farm workers. And the thing I’m most proud of as a manager is the way that I invest in, develop, and support my staff members: making sure they have the resources to do their jobs well; taking their feedback seriously and empowering them as leaders; and valuing their learning and professional growth.

Workers matter. Our organizations and our economy don’t run without us – so our labor must be properly valued and respected.

Throughout this campaign, I’ve been clear about my commitment to building the power of working people and protecting their rights and dignity. That’s why labor unions and their allies in Montgomery County and across the country have endorsed me, including:

  • Montgomery County Education Association – MCEA represents 14,000 teachers and educators in the Montgomery County Public Schools, and they are vocal advocates for education funding, educational equity, and ensuring that teachers can spend their time focusing on student growth and development – not paperwork and testing. Their “Apple Ballot” is considered one of the most influential endorsements in the county.
  • UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO – MCGEO represents almost 9,000 public and private employees across 400 different job types in Montgomery County, as well as Prince George’s and Allegany Counties – from bus drivers to librarians to park maintenance workers. From its inception, UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO has fought to protect workers’ rights, negotiate fair wages, and protect safety and security of workers.
  • National Nurses Organizing Committee/NNU – NNOC is part of National Nurses United, the largest union of registered nurses in the United States with 150,000 members, including more than 2,500 who reside in Maryland. NNU has been organizing for the rights and safety of nurses here in Montgomery County, as well as fighting across the country for universal health care, economic justice, and environmental justice.

We’ve also been endorsed by Progressive Maryland, CASA in Action, and Metro DC and national Democratic Socialists of America – all organizations deeply committed to economic justice who organize with workers and labor unions to achieve policy and electoral wins for working people and their families.

Today, we celebrate what workers can achieve when we recognize our power and stand together to fight for a better future. Organized workers have done what many people believed was impossible at the time – from an 8-hour work day and workplace safety regulations to campaigns for universal health care and a $15 minimum wage that are changing the political and policy landscape across the country.

But just as on that first May Day, there are those who want to suppress workers’ voices in favor of corporate control of our government and economy. The spread of so-called “right to work” legislation in many states and the Janus v. AFSCME case currently before the Supreme Court are direct attacks on the ability of workers to organize in their workplaces. While these efforts are framed as supposedly protecting the freedom of workers, they only benefit the employers who want to keep workers from defending their right to fair wages and good working conditions.

With 8 weeks to go until the primary, now is the time to unite around a vision for working people and working families in Montgomery County. I am fighting for a fair economy, affordable housing, transportation access, equitable education, and a democracy that works for all of us – that’s my vision for a #Montgomery4All. But I need your help to make that vision a reality. Join our movement today as a donor or volunteer – and let’s win for workers on June 26.

Photo Credit: AFL CIO

Conventional Wisdom vs. Unconventional Women: Harriet Tubman

Conventional Wisdom vs. Unconventional Women: Harriet Tubman

In Preston, MD, there’s a tree that Harriet Tubman and her family passed by on the way to freedom.

The tree stands on one of the many Eastern Shore farms where Tubman and her relatives labored as slaves – not as farmers, but as loggers. While much of the forest shows the signs of having been clear cut more than once, this 200-year-old tree remains standing, a living witness to the courage of Tubman and those who escaped with her on the thirteen trips she made back to Maryland to free family members and friends after she had escaped herself.

Standing in that forest, you get a sense of how terrifying the escape must have been. But you also know that you’re standing in Tubman’s legacy: the farm is now owned by two black women who are partnering with two young black farmers to lead a resurgence of African-American agriculture in Maryland and across the country. Tubman risked doing what no one would have thought possible – and the power of that choice continues to echo through generations.

Tubman rescued “just” 70 people – a number that could easily be dismissed compared to the 4 million people enslaved at that time. Running a grassroots campaign for County Council might seem to be a small thing in the face of global environmental, economic and social challenges. But these seemingly small things have the power to transform our lives, and the lives of those who come after us.

The conventional wisdom about who holds power and makes decisions for our communities is no longer acceptable for our families, our communities, and our children.

When children have to march in the streets to make sure their schools are safe and free from gun violence, it’s time to challenge the status quo and demand effective gun control laws and end the stranglehold of the NRA on our gun policy.

When women are consistently paid less than men in every field, and women are underrepresented in politics at every level, it’s time to make sure we have reforms that create equity in the workplace and in politics.

When hardworking people cannot get affordable housing or ensure that their families are fed, it’s time to move away from a trickle-down housing and economic theory to create policies that benefit the people, not corporate and big money interests.

Unconventional women have won freedom for themselves and their communities. In this final week of March, as we celebrate the leadership of diverse people across our communities will you support Brandy’s campaign to challenge the conventional wisdom about political leadership in Montgomery County?

I’m mad

I’m mad

I must address the appalling, devastating $1.5 trillion tax bill GOP leaders in Congress just passed for their mega donors. It’s going to hurt millions of hard-working people across this country, and it makes me mad as hell.

I’m sorry for the language (my mom is reading this email, too) – but I can’t be silent. This impacts state and local government. It impacts everyday families. It makes it ten times harder for students and families struggling to make ends meet. It is yet another example of big money influencing our policies.

It’s time for all of us to rise up and say NO MORE.

NO MORE to big money in our elections drowning out everyday people.

NO MORE to corporate interests writing the rules in their favor and profiting off of people.

NO MORE to backroom deals where lobbyists write legislation and elected leaders fail to hold a single hearing on sweeping policy that impacts so many aspects of our lives AND the  federal, state, and local government.

This is our moment to change what happens in Rockville, Annapolis, and Washington, DC. – and it starts by making sure we support and elect folks that are beholden to no one else but the people.

Please take a moment to join a day of action to call Congress and voice your objection to the tax bill. We can still stop this bill but it will take millions of us rising up and saying NO MORE giveaways to millionaires, billionaires, and corporations! 

December 6 – National Call-in Day to Stop the GOPTaxBill 

SEIU and other national groups are hosting a national call-in day to Congress TOMORROW (Wednesday, December 6) on the tax bill. Call 1-855-713-0060 to tell Congress to VOTE NO and stop this corporate giveaway.

You can also join on the ground events on Capitol Hill with CASA to support DREAMers and a clean DACA bill. Our immigrant brothers and sisters need our help and support as families are being torn apart by the heartless immigration policies of this administration.

In this moment, I am encouraged by the words of Dr. King that while our journey is long, and often difficult we must continue forward as the world bends toward justice and equality for all in our community.

Onward!

VIDEO: Happy Thanksgiving – Recovering Our Stories

VIDEO: Happy Thanksgiving – Recovering Our Stories

I want to wish all of you a safe, restful, and Happy Thanksgiving.

This week I am in Minnesota spending time with dear friends. Today, I had the opportunity to visit the State Capitol in St. Paul, MN and see a special exhibit that examines the history and treatment of native people by early settlers to the area. The exhibit challenges the dominant narratives that have been told throughout history that often marginalize people of color. It is an opportunity for many of us to reclaim our own story in American history.

This campaign is about all of us reclaiming our unique story of our democracy. I’m thankful the opportunity to run a campaign powered by your support, ideas, and most importantly your energy.

Thank you again for all that you do for this campaign and Happy Thanksgiving!

Upcoming Events

November 25
Democracy on Tap at Paladar in Gaithersburg 5-7pm

November 28
#GivingTuesday!
(All-Day, Wear you purple, give back to the community, and support the campaign!)
House Party in Silver Spring hosted by Kenneth Wilson 7pm

December 1
House Party in Wheaton hosted by Dana Best 7pm

Mi Abuelo / My Grandfather

Mi Abuelo / My Grandfather

I wish you could have met my abuelo, Edward Brooks. He was a sharp dresser and made friends everywhere. He passed away shortly after my sister Michelle’s wedding in 2009. Born in 1916 in Roatan (a Caribbean island off the coast of Honduras), he joined the Merchant Marines in his late teens and immigrated to the U.S. He became a citizen through service and was active during World War II.

My grandfather was full of life and told the most amazing stories about his experiences around the world and in his Bronx neighborhood. He also shared with his grandchildren all the hardships he faced as an immigrant in the U.S. He was ecstatic to cast a ballot for Barack Obama, the first African American president. Throughout his life, he showed us the importance of hard work, determination, and having a joy-filled spirit. If he were still around I’m sure he’d be out canvassing for his nieta.

Like many families, I have members who have served or currently serve in the military. On this Veteran’s Day, we take a moment to thank those who have served our country. We must recommit ourselves to finding peaceful solutions to conflicts around the world – because we should never risk servicemembers’ lives without good cause.

Let’s honor our troops at every stage of their service to our country – abroad and at home. We must make sure that all veterans have access to employment, housing, and health care when they return. For my grandfather and the many veterans across the country, let us honor their service by ensuring we have a democracy that values and respects all people.

Te amo y extraño abuelo. ❤️

Pictured in photo: Becky (sister), Grandpa Edward, Mom, Michelle (sister), Doogie (brother-in-law), Dad, Me, and Ellie (sister).