Earlier today the National Nurses Organizing Committee endorsed Brandy Brooks, as well as four other candidates for office in Montgomery County. The National Nurses Organizing Committee is an extension of National Nurses United, the largest union representing registered nurses. National Nurses United are not only national leaders on progressive policy for health care and workers – they’re fighting right here in Montgomery County to ensure that nurses can work in safety and with dignity as they provide the health care our communities need every day.
In their press release today, the National Nurses Organizing Committee said that “registered nurses are excited to endorse Brandy Brooks, Tom Hucker, Danielle Meitiv, and Chris Wilhelm for Montgomery County Council, because they wholeheartedly share nurses’ values and are committed to patient safety, working families and health care justice,” said Drew Biederman, RN, a member of NNOC/NNU and a resident of Montgomery County.”
The endorsement marks the eighth for the campaign and the third major endorsement in the past week. “I am incredibly proud to be endorsed by the registered nurses of NNOC/NNU,” said Brandy Brooks. “They are not only national leaders on progressive policy for health care and workers – they’re fighting right here in Montgomery County to ensure that nurses can work in safety and with dignity as they provide the health care our communities need every day.”
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD (April 1, 2018) — Brandy Brooks, at-large candidate for Montgomery County Council, is calling for major changes to the voting process for the at-large race. Her goal is to ensure voters are able to fully evaluate each candidate’s skills, agility under pressure, and creativity, and to allow candidates to clearly distinguish themselves within the crowded field.
Brooks challenges the other 37 at-large candidates to a dance off.
“I am a ballet-trained, award-winning ballroom dancer, and a former cheerleader,” said Brooks. “The dance off allows me to show the people of Montgomery County how I will bring creative, artistic leadership to the governance of our county.”
The format of the dance off will be determined by an independent citizen-led commission that is equally balanced for up-county and down-county, incorporated and unincorporated areas, gender, and dance style preference.
Brooks is ready to show county residents what visionary leadership on the council can look like. She adds, “My jazz hands are legendary.”
The time and place of the dance off is yet to be determined.
The following is a reflection by Aliza Wasserman as part of #TeamBrandy’s Conventional Wisdom vs. Unconventional Women series.
Today marks the 75th anniversary on the Jewish (lunar) calendar of the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. After 2,000 German soldiers re-entered the ghetto in 1943 on the eve of Passover, they were faced by hundreds of Jewish resistors combating them for nearly a month through the final liquidation of the ghetto. The Germans burned down the ghetto, forcing the last of the Jewish fighters to escape through the sewers by gassing their bunkers.
Zivia Lubetkin was the only female leader in the command structure of the uprising, and helped found the anti-Fascist bloc, the first organization in the Warsaw Ghetto to engage in armed combat in fighting for their lives against the Germans. A founder and leader of the Jewish Combat Organization (ZOB), which organized the uprising, Lubetkin was previously a leader of Jewish youth movements who smuggled many Jewish teenagers out of Poland, where my ancestors came from just 30 years prior. On May 10, 1943 she went through the sewers with the last of the fighters and became an emissary of the movement and its legacy until her death in 1978.
Zivia was part of a group of mostly female couriers, or Kashariyot, who traveled on illegal missions in and out of ghettos and towns in Poland, Lithuania, and Russia, using false papers to conceal their identities. Sharing news and information across the areas occupied by Germany and smuggling identity cards, newspapers, medical supplies and their fellow Jews. Most of the couriers were female, because the social roles for Jewish women in Poland at the time made women better suited for this role –being out in public during the day was more normative for women, they were less likely to be sent to forced labor camps, and they were more likely to have secular education in Polish schools. Earlier in the German occupation they had organized meetings and educational spaces for young Jews to learn about the history of resistance. As heroes who risked their lives often anonymously and secretly, “the kashariyot were not conventional fighters: they did not use conventional weapons and they did not fight in conventional battles. Their times called for daring innovations and different modes of fighting the Germans.”The resilience exhibited by these female couriers also played a symbolic role in keeping hope alive, just as hearing about their efforts these days helps to push back against the current acceptance of a default passive bystander status.
Since most of the Warsaw Ghetto Jews—there had once been nearly half a million– had already been killed or sent to death camps or labor camps, Lubetkin and her comrades knew their armed combat wouldn’t be able to stop the Nazi machine. However, she hoped that the fighting spirit would inspire more Jews to fight back and earn more support from the Polish Underground.
In her memoir In the Days of Despair & Destruction, Lubetkin wrote “It would be wrong, painfully wrong, to assume that the resistance displayed by the youth during the stormy days of destruction was the response of a few individuals…Our fate would have been very different had we not been members of the movement…We were able to endure the life in the ghetto because we knew that we were a collective, a movement. Each of us knew that he or she wasn’t alone…the feeling that there was a community people who cared about each other, who shared ideas and values in common, made it possible for each of us to do what he or she did. This was the source of our strength to live. It is the very same source which keeps the survivors alive even today. The Jewish people stood the test.”
Throughout history, unconventional women have fought back against oppression against all odds. These women provide the inspiration for the next generation of women heroes and leaders. Now is our time to fight back against oppression in our communities – from housing discrimination to worker exploitation to violence against people of faith – together, we will rise.
The following is a reflection by Carol McSween-Brooks as part of #TeamBrandy’s Conventional Wisdom vs. Unconventional Women series. McSween-Brooks is a resident of Wheaton.
Mary McLeod Bethune followed a path of being “unconventional” throughout her life. Did you know Mrs. Bethune:
Started a school for African-American girls in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Was president of Bethune-Cookman College (the consolidation of the school for African-American girls and the Cookman school for boys) from 1923 to 1942 and 1946 to 1947.
Instituted standards that led Bethune-Cookman College to become Bethune-Cookman University.
Was a national leader in the 1930’s, working with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt on issues of education and social justice not just for African Americans but for all people.
Was National Advisor to President Franklin Roosevelt as part of the Black Cabinet.
Has a memorial sculpture in Lincoln Park in Washington, DC.
Mrs. Bethune said of the National Council of Negro Women in New York City, which she founded:
“It is our pledge to make a lasting contribution to all that is finest and best in America, to cherish and enrich her heritage of freedom and progress by working for the integration of all her people regardless of race, creed, or national origin, into her spiritual, social, cultural, civic, and economic life, and thus aid her to achieve the glorious destiny of a true and unfettered democracy.”
Mrs. Bethune is a personal heroine of mine, and I’m excited to share a purely wonderful story of remembrance and discovery.
Mary McLeod Bethune was a living hero for my mother who told me of Mrs. Bethune’s accomplishments in detail from when I was very young. My mother encouraged me to learn and Mrs. Bethune was always at the forefront whenever she told me what I could accomplish. Yet it wasn’t until doing research for this blog series that I discovered the depth of who Mary McLeod Bethune was. Both personally and publicly, I owe a great deal of my strength and determination as a Black woman to the things Mary McLeod Bethune set in motion in education and community.
She challenged conventional wisdom as an unconventional leader in education for Black people.
Brandy Brooks challenges conventional wisdom as an unconventional leader in community and government. It is this strength in challenging convention to build thriving, powerful, and socially just communities all across Montgomery County that makes a “YES!” vote for Brandy Brooks for County Council At-Large on June 26, 2018 the right thing to do.
The following is a reflection by Jayme Epstein as part of #TeamBrandy’s Conventional Wisdom vs. Unconventional Women series. Epstein is a resident in Rockville.
“Si se puede! Si se puede! (Yes, we can!)” rings through the streets of America today ever since Dolores Huerta coined the term almost 50 years ago.
Those words defined Huerta’s life, as a woman, an organizer, and an advocate for the rights of all people. She is most famous for co-founding the United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez, a role that was often downplayed because she was a woman. Against all odds, not to mention big agribusiness and the government, Huerta built a movement, then devoted her life to raising up the voices and improving the lives of oppressed Americans, breaking race and gender barriers each step of the way.
She founded the Dolores Huerta Foundation in 2002 to build local power and fight for justice in California’s Central Valley. Today, at age 87, Huerta continues to lead the organization and travels the country supporting candidates for political office and civil rights. Accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012, Huerta emphasized the power of organizing communities to fight for economic and social justice:
“The freedom of association means that people can come together in organization to fight for solutions to the problems they confront in their communities. The great social justice changes in our country have happened when people came together, organized, and took direct action. It is this right that sustains and nurtures our democracy today.”