What We Need Now: Season 2

February 19, 2021

Episode 1: What We EXPECT Now

Annnnndddddd… We’re back! Hey Family and Welcome to Season 2 of Greenpeace USA’s What We Need Now podcast, where we let the people doing the work do the talking. 

Before we start with the magic, take a deep breath and smile because we’re bringing great vibes, amazing hosts, and some real heavy hitters who are doing the work in the movement for justice.

Our first episode –– hosted by Greenpeace’s own Democracy Campaigner Jonathan (they/them) and Actions Team Member Rico (he/him) –– kicks off answering questions of not only what we need now, but what we expect now. The show features special guest Brittny Baxter (she/her), Movement Building Coordinator and Trainer with the Democracy Initiative. 

“I’ve moved and worked in spaces across the movement and everything I’ve done is done with that energy focused on my North Star, which is Black people on this earth being free, being healthy, being fully human and moving in our wonderful melanated greatness.”

This fun and inspiring discussion is focused on the actions communities can make to truly heal democracy. We will examine what went down January 6 at the Capitol and how that was an expression of white supremacy. And we’ll even take a look at the actions, or lack thereof, of the Biden presidency in how they are approaching America’s issues with diversity. 

 

Our talented trio brilliantly examines how we bypass legislative “knee jerk reactions” from the government –– and most recently the social media monopolies who purged Trump after he was voted out. We also step into the interconnectedness of the fossil fuel industry’s impact on politics, the health of our planet, and our communities – and most notably, it’s deeply rooted foundation in white supremacy culture. 

We need to spread the word that there are justice-based solutions that we can utilize right NOW to catapult us to the future we seek! It starts with passing H.R. 1, the For The People act, to transform our democracy and create a landscape for a healthy planet and society and uplifting the leadership of Black, Brown, Indigenous and Queer folx. 

Our guest Ms. Brittny Baxter manages the Bayard Rustin Democracy Fellowship Program, which creates pathways to leadership for staff and activists that come from marginalized communities

THIS and a lot more goes down in our first episode of season 2, so grab your headphones and join us wherever you listen to podcasts.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Jonathan: Hey Family! My name is Jonathan 

Rico: And my name is Rico and welcome to Season 

Jonathan: (season!) Season 2 of the “What We Need Now” podcast. On the show we’re always reaching and exploring and this season we’re doing things a little differently. 

Jonathan: That’s right! Our goal is to keep growing and trying new things and this season the new thing” we are trying is some communal hosting rotation. 

Rico: Remember those folks from the last episode of Season 1?If not gon head and stop and give that a listen. Well each episode this season will feature a different host from the What We Need Now cast. 

Jonathan: So yeah, it’s a new hosting format. We just want to put that on the front end so so you know what to expect in Season 2, but our goal remains the same. To uplift the voices of the folks at the grassroots of our movement.

Rico: As yall have seen 2021 has gotten off to a wild start so we have a lot to cover this season. 

Jonathan: And per usual, brought to you live and in color by Greenpeace USA, cute puppies, and whatever Professor X threw in to make the powerpuff girls!

[INTRO JINGLE]

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Jonathan:  Similar to the start of our first season, we want to start off grounded in some land acknowledgements. We are very, very clear our work cannot be done without intentionally grappling with the reality of colonization. We talked a little bit about colonization in season one, but again, like it’s not just something we talk about once, it’s something that we embody in the work we do. Which is why we want to honor the native land we’re on and continue to fight against the erasure of people who have faced the violence of genocide, colonialism, and state violence. With that said. Um again, for y’all, my name is Jonathan I use they, them pronouns and since I am based in so-called DC, I want to give acknowledgement to the unseeded Piscataway and Nacotchtank land on which I reside. And particularly for the folks on the land that I reside on, if you want to support them, you can go to Piscataway Land Trust. We’ll drop a link in our description for ways that you can support them financially as well as engaging in their mutual aid projects. So yes, continue to understand and know the land which you reside on. 

Rico: Yeah, thank you for that. And I echo everything Jonathan just offered and also want to give recognition to the occupied land that I’m on, which is Chochenyo Ohlone. And we’ll also have some links to how you can support them in our toolkit. 

Jonathan: Yeah, absolutely, but this is really core to what we believe in terms of like we if we believe we’re working towards environmental justice, we have to like understand where where colonization fits into this work. And so if you don’t know whose land you’re on, there’s a really helpful website. It’s called native-land.ca, I’m going to say that one more time

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Native-land.ca .

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Umm it’s a really detailed map of Turtle Island, which is the so called US as well as across the globe, and it gives you a really detailed account of what native and Indigenous peoples a land that you occupy and only takes a couple of seconds to understand that and really be able to show that solidarity and this is a great resource. They have a lot of information on the history you can kind of navigate around, so definitely recommend checking that out. Thank you for. Sharing that awesome. So with that being said, what are we talking about today? Rico today we’re talking about what we expect now. It’s like, you know, like a play on what we need now. But what we expect a lot has been going on since our last episode and we thought it was only fitting that we kicked off the new season discussing what’s on the horizon and how we’re going to get there. How we gonna get there, Indeed, one of the things that fill my newsfeed and probably filled yours too. And everybody else is that, you know, I think people are just like, you know. Blank the blank explicit explicit 2020 yadda yadda yadda. And then we started off the year with a failed coup attempt by some white supremacists. I know it’s like you know, we really thought people people were jumping on the like. 2020 is the worst year ever. I’m like just don’t say it. Don’t jinx it. Don’t don’t think 2021 happened and then we’re one week in and and all of this happened. Yeah let’s let’s get into the failed coup. The only way I can imagine that somebody wouldn’t have heard of this. Is there maybe they’re listening like in the future like 2031 and. People have forgotten ’cause things have gotten better or or maybe. If you are listening this year and you spent the last month and a half at a silent meditation retreat, then maybe you didn’t know that. On January 6, 2021 like Wow, we’re celebrating boats coming in to seal the victories of Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock like it was it was going to be a good day. A group of armed far right extremist extremist broke into the US capital during vote verification, attempting to overturn the election. Results like that actually happened. And

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you know, it’s it’s hard because it’s like. Equal parts absurd and horrifying. So you kinda gotta like balance the two, but some of the key key things that we have to acknowledge is off top is that pipe bombs were discovered outside of the RNC and the DNC just a week and a half after that domestic terror attack in Nashville. Like this, you know that’s the context of this happening in five people died during the event there was a police officer that was beat to death. There was a person shot by police. Three other people died during the rally. Some of the things that happened. You probably had this too in your feed, but so many images of the person with their feet up on Nancy Pelosi’s desk. Oh someone actually stole her laptop, the Confederate flag. That never reached the capital during the Civil War, was flown by rioters like in the capital, many of them armed. So it was there was a lot going on and we kind of got like a lot of images. Of the funnier side of it. But Meanwhile, there was a lot of like, really like kind of sinister things happening as well, all at the same time. And so it was, like, I say, equal parts carry and absurd. But the memes really did help us get through it, particularly the security memes. Ohh yeah security means they were on point, yeah? Yeah, someone said Black Twitter always comes through whenever there’s a national or global crisis. And and again, it’s like I think we have to. You know, obviously, you know you know humor is, as can be a sensitive topic sometimes. But also like humor and finding joy and these like again like he mentions like it was, just really not only bizarre but it was like the audacity of the moment, right? Kind of going back to were saying that the Confederate flag that the Confederate side, the people that loss. Who’s that flag never reached the capital during the Civil War when they were trying to fight that fight that they did lose and some folks just need to come that reality that the fact that you know it was that gesture I think is also what we saw was in this kind of came in both like the kind of articles but also the memes was like this image of you know these white supremacists who were so much like oh built that wall and very anti immigrant

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anti-Black are now like climbing the capital walls and like the image of that. People like breaking the windows, just the fact is like they’re like Blue Lives Matter. People who are suddenly like saying acab it was. It was a really wild turn of events, but the Blue Lives matter. People that then were also the people who like one were beating up the police, but then also like very much in cahoots with them. ’cause I think that was also like something that was very that went very viral. Was that again, I think there’s a couple videos but there was that video specifically other police guards opening up the barricades. So like people on that, ’cause again, if people who are, you know, have been to DC, you’re kind of layout. There’s the different sides of the capital, and like there’s the main side where, like you know, inauguration. And like the big events happened. And then there’s the other steps. Where like staffers come in and like they were letting people in it did it. Did it look like Walmart on Black Friday to you just the way they just move the barricade like like, OK you’ve been waiting all night you can come on in the stores open get your Xbox like they just casually strolled away right after they had just had a. Pretty violent clash with them just outside the barricade. I think the kind of piece that like kept like pulling on my heartstrings if that’s the right framing. And you know me, I always like to try out new phrases, but the but it really kind of got to me was the fact that like there’s a couple levels. So like I think there’s a one level as like someone who’s done grassroots lobbying or like had things to do at the Hill. I’ve been there and I have seemed like armed to the teeth like security guards and like how many different forms of identification. And like I have, I can only come with the bare minimum. You know it’s it’s if you ever been through TSA and in the airport it’s like 30 times worse, and so I’ve been there and then just to kind of see. Not only were the police in cahoots with the white supremacists, but also just seeing like like again, we know it’s like it was any BIPOC group. If it was a Black people like that just wouldn’t have happened because we know you know what we saw in the wake of the George Floyd

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protest also which is kind of coming on the heels and kind of like entering to get us started off with 2021 Was the fact that like they were militarised and they were not there, militarize in the face of peaceful protests from Black and Brown folks. But these white supremacists are literally destroying things, breaking and entering things there, like at the felony level, and even we’re kind of seeing as far as like people really aren’t getting charged, or people are like finding different loopholes, and so is it, like you know, like this is an think this is kind of like what is key to me is like. All the pundits, all sides left, right, middle, sideways diagonal is like, oh, this isn’t America. But it’s like no, this actually is. This is very much American culture, ’cause I think that we have to get away from and what we really want to talk about it for this year. It’s like when we’re talking about the work that we have to do this year. We really gotta get away from the fact we’re just thinking that these are just like these outstanding outlier moments. Like no. These are like fundamentally like a part of American culture. It wasn’t that long ago that folks basically tried this. A very similar thing in Michigan. It also reminded me of the occupation of the Wildlife Refuge, where a bunch of armed you know far right extremists. Extremists were also just treated with kid gloves relative to people just literally exercising their rights to protest. And the difference of like what we’re asking for. And I I hesitate to do the comparison because I think that like that kind of like false equivalency is actually like benefits. In some ways. People who are doing something that’s radically different than. What people were asking for this summer, but I mean it is it is important to to recognize the difference in response, but also like the difference in intent, you know the difference between saying like we want to get basic recognition of our lives of our rights. We want, you know, we want safety, want protection for our communities versus saying like we want our person to have won the election that they didn’t win like that is a you know, pretty fundamental

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difference. And then the tactic and the fact that they’re militarizing people got on tactical gear and then bringing you know all kinds of weaponry into the capital. With zip ties and like plans to kidnap different elected officials, I guess it couldn’t be more different, but even even with that it’s still, you know, noticeable that like it’s just a drastically different response. Like there’s police officers taking selfies, all that. That that got me heated, but that’s a different problem. But yeah, different conversation. But you know, I mean, it’s just like you said it’s not. This isn’t an anomaly, this isn’t something that’s like wildly different. We’ve seen it happen time and time again. It’s just how differently. Folks are treated like terrorism when it’s done by white people in this country is is treated so differently than any form of dissent. Yeah, and I think kind of on that point. And and. Think about like also like some of the work that I do, like Greenpeace with our our Democracy campaign is like when we think about like these these instances. Oftentimes there’s a knee jerk that happens from the government to like then like put it like legislation into play to combat these things. And So what we already saw was from. Biden and crew. Is that like they’re kind of talking about Like how do we crack down on domestic terrorism? So on and so forth, but it’s like we already know that this backfires every time anyone’s ever tried to do something. It’s like if we look at the Patriot Act. People are just like, Oh well, you know the Patriot Act because of you know line 11 because of these attacks is like no actually what it did. Is this? Like for Black and Brown folks who were within their constitutional right to just dissent, are then facing the brunt end? The violent end of being surveilled, and And facing state violence and all these different things. And so I know some of our listeners may be like. OK, so y’all, Greenpeace where you’re going with this. But I think the core pieces that like when we’re talking about the other components of what we’re facing when we’re talking about how the fossil fuels impacting politics, how it’s impacting the health of our

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planet, our communities, all these things are tied to like white supremacy, white supremacy culture. Like. Again, we can’t get away from these concepts if we’re actually going to have like a strong analysis about the things that has to be a part of the work we’re doing. Absolutely, it’s not going to be as simple as you know. Getting rid of Donald Trump, and even if he is impeached because it, the involvement is pretty deep and there’s many elected officials that were involved in this many of the same groups that funded some of these rallies and some of the groups that organized this. Some of those same funders are funding other aspects of the GOP. We have, like lawmakers that were there. We have members of Congress who work with oath keepers or work with the Three Percenters in these different far right groups that have basically pushed this narrative. And push this action forward. So it’s really important for us to to really look at like what are the roots of this? Not treat it like you know, a one time thing and not just having knee jerk reaction and responses to it. Because as you said, like we’re always prepared for the catastrophe that just happened kind of thing. But a lot of those changes that we’re going to make our security will disproportionately impact black and Brown folks. Once again yeah and and also like I, I you know you and I know ’cause we’ve had this conversation before. You know you’re recording and now so like. We can go on the stats for days about like again like you were saying is like we know that the ties that Trump had an like. Again, you know no shade, but like I, I really don’t give a lot of applause. Is social media companies who like 1400 days too late decided to like ban Trump from all these social music? Again, it’s like you don’t. You’re not old. OK, this is a tangent, but you’re not owed social media as like a public official. As especially the president, you’re not told that like again Zuckerberg. And all these people like again, this is so anyway, I’m not going around, right? They did it way too late, but you know, we’re seeing that and also like the fact that like folks are now trying to reactively like shut down these violent groups. But like the fact is like, the damage is done and we know we know folks intentions. We’ve seen people’s true colors, and I think that’s like one thing that I personally want to

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continue to explore throughout the rest of this season is like, how do we actually uncover those things and actually just have honest conversations? Because we’re thinking about what we’re up against, especially again. You know, we kind of not a. Doomsday sense, but you know, we do have that. That ticking Clock around. Getting to a healthier planet. By by 2030. In doing drastic measures to make sure that you know we have a livable planet to exist on right is like we have to like really band together and I think that’s actually, you know, more than the negatives and the hot takes and the data. And how many Republican senators you know helped storm the capital is the fact that, like I think of all this madness, mind you, there was still A Panasonic going around. Yes, you heard it correctly Panasonic, but then you know you know, you know, we’re talking about the pandemic, but there’s still a whole pandemic going on. And I think what even more so beyond those instances in which we know they’re not one time instances are part of a larger system, is like also the fact that people are fighting back against that, and we’re seeing that happen a lot in community, especially with mutual aid, since the pandemic started. Like you said, the overwhelming tide is towards change, and I definitely want to shout out to how much this administration already has responded to the work of communities, the work of organizers for the past many years, and we’re seeing from this administration things that we never would have anticipated from a fairly moderate candidate. To suddenly like be ambitious. And in all these different ways, and so that is a testament to like the changing tide politically and like the work that people are doing. So as much as it’s important to talk about this like historic insurrection that happened in our country. They don’t get to control the narrative of even 2021 because as you can see like there there on the back end of a losing battle, and so when we’re talking about transformation and getting to a place of justice like we all have a role to play in making that vision possible. And if I can’t, people on the whole. Not not these white supremacists, not these Nazis, not these other people. People on the whole are actually hungry for that transformer change right there. Housing for a transformer justice in these

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pathways actually build healthier communities that the fact that like yes people deserve healthcare. Yes people deserve like housing right? Like we have what’s that ridiculous number of how many millions of homes are left empty, right? That people deserve to be able to have healthy food. All these things, right? We believe we we we we deserved to be in right relationship with the land with the planet. And these are things on the whole people actually want in. And yeah, like these people are losing a, fighting a losing battle they’re losers. My words, an after the fact that like we actually have to like continue to, in my perspective, really invest in that Community because that’s where actually the people are and the people are ready to move towards something better. Exactly, and so under the theme of what we expect now you can expect for us to continue exploring that the intersections of white supremacy with all of these different ways and how it shows up and touches us, but also really like focusing on an uplifting. The people who are doing the work to make our communities more whole into and to push forward for that transformative justice. And so basically we’re expecting to all keep fighting and to keep highlighting that fight. The makers of Diet MLK were deeply troubled by the riots of the Capitol last month, and we want to remind you that this is not who we are.

Parody AD: Diet MLK is deeply troubled

Announcer: As the makers of Diet MLK (the official beverage of white people taking things out of proper context)…we were deeply troubled by “the riots at the capitol last month and we wanted to send a reminder that this is not who we are, this isnt’ america.

No matter what you’ve heard  or seen on television and social media, this is simply not the country we live in.

And we will move forward from this tragedy in the way that we have learned from history, by picking up our bootstraps and acting as if it never happened.

We choose to remember the America of yesteryear, the America of our forefathers -where George Washington didn’t lie about the cherry tree.

The America where everyone has a fair shot and white people and police work hand in hand for a better future.

Let us remember the America before January 6th and actually before most of 2020 and all of 2016-2020.

The America of yesteryear’s version of yesteryear, brought to you by Diet M.L.K

Happy Black History Month

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Jonathan: We got a special guest for y’all today OK? I don’t know if you can hear me. The drum rolls are going like we’re really out here today. Shook Beyonce’s hand at least three times Nobel Priest Prize laureate? What else you know? I’m saying out here I got 2 Grammys. All jokes aside, Brittny Baxter is an amazing, amazing individual who has really been doing an awesome amount of work in our communities in our field as people especially like Greenpeace were operating at this intersection of environmental work and the democracy. Someone who’s actually been out there with the people. So I think there’s a lot of folks shade who out here claiming titles and doing things, but ain’t really bout it. And and. I think we have to really give respect to the folks who done the field work have been knocking on doors who’ve actually been building relationships with communities, and again, aren’t these people who just show up every four years or every two years but folks who were actually there year round. And so yeah, really excited for Brittany here today, baby. Do do do do do do hi and welcome to the show Brittny. We’re so glad to have you here. First off, First things first. Tell us your name, your pronouns, what land you’re on and a little bit about you. What do you want people to know? Thank you so much. Jonathan and Rico. I am so excited to be here so folks. My name is Brittany Baxter pronouns are she hers. I reside in Washington DC, AKA Piscataway land. Everything I do is ruled by my desire to achieve. 100% black liberation. I’ve moved and worked in spaces across the movement and everything I’ve done is done with that energy focused on my North Star, which is Black people

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on this earth being free, being healthy, being fully human and moving in our wonderful melanated greatness. 

Rico: Yeah I need that on a bumper sticker, on a T shirt, and a hoodie. That’s amazing. 

Jonathan: Two bumper stickers.

Brittny:Thank you thank you right? 

Rico: ’cause this is a lot of words. 

Jonathan: Yeah yeah you could. It looks like, you know, how people have license plates or like stickers on their car. Like you know, ’cause of the snow or whatever rubbed off and then the message doesn’t make sense, gotta, you gotta make sure it’s like it’s on the bumper sticker but you gotta make sure it’s on there. 

Brittny: That’s me. I have a “Black Futures Matter” bumper sticker on my car and half of it came down so it just says “Futures Matter” and it makes me so sad. 

Jonathan: Yeah no, no. I appreciate that. I appreciate that we love it. Welcome! Welcome! And was talking that good stuff. OK. Talking about Black liberation, hmm. Yes, let’s reminisce on that, yes. So for our time here today we’re going to talk a lot about a lot of things, but specifically our year got off to a particularly rocky start, right? Granted, we know that you know, this is not new folks have been battling white supremacy and racism, patriarchal violence, all these isms and systems, right? For generations. So I think one of the first things is just kind of first reactions, like what was the start of the year for you like? And also what were like your takeaways. Thinking about how the tone was kind of set as we think about the start of 2021.

Brittny: My 2021 started off with a little bit of residual 2020 messiness, and so I had to give the month of January a lot of grace, because otherwise Brittny might not be here today with you. I might be somewhere and someone jail ’cause I snapped, but honestly, really, I was appalled but not surprised. Disturbed but not really shaken by the events that we saw at the capital on the 6th, right. Um, it

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was really clear that there was inside support. Awas really disgusting for me and what concerns me the most is the almost immediate calls for bipartisanship when it comes to the Democrats taking power. And I think like for me, I have a rule that I tell folks all the time, I can compromise on anything, but my humanity. And our safety and our humanity is at stake and there is no middle ground with that. There’s no bipartisan way to compromise peoples value, their safety, their rights to be here, especially on land that we stole from other folks and then kidnap folks to build everything, including the Capitol building that they stormed is that doesn’t even belong to them because they didn’t build it. 

Jonathan: I do want to offer that I didn’t steal anything for audience members. I did not steal anything. 

Brittny: No, we did not. I am referring to my ancestors, to our ancestors, who were kidnapped from West Africa, forced to come here, work for free for mediocre folks who couldn’t figure out how to plant their own stuff. But yeah, like it really is. It was really, really sad to watch and it was terrifying because when I first moved to DC I moved in 2017. And there was this cloud of like depression over the city, right? Because we were leaving. We were leaving the Obama years. While Obama was not perfect, right? There were so many achievements in games made, and DC was a pretty great place to be. And then I enter in 2017 and it’s just very different, right? And unfortunately over the past four years, that division has really grown infested in a lot of ways. And so it culminated in this, like this arrogance in this entitlement that is imagined at best,

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and. You know it’s it’s hard to watch it, especially like as someone who has a child and wants to raise my child on an earth that is healthy as a human being that is fully recognized to be themselves like this does not give me a lot of comfort and I recognize that while many of our like allies call for like compromise because these are their cousins that they didn’t gather at Thanksgiving that I’m not interested in working in building with people who do not cut this off at the head. Because gangrene is only going faster and it’s gonna spread and so if we don’t cut this limb, the whole body is gonna die. So folks have some decisions to make and I know that was a little rambly. But that’s how I feel. It’s complete nonsense. 

Rico: I definitely feel it. And that gangrene, if I can suppose what I think you’re getting that of white supremacy being a part of that, you know is a term certainly gets thrown around a lot nowadays, but like we really want to focus on it both in our organization and something that we want to focus on in the podcast. Like what do- how do you define it? How do you understand it and its impact on all of the work that we’re doing? 

Brittny: Oh oh, you want it? I’ll give you a definition for white supremacy, right in my head and in my world, white supremacy is the delusional idea that somehow a group of people who have not done anything but stolen people, land, resources and spread violence throughout the earth are somehow superior to other groups of people who have used collectivism and the idea of the village to build power and to preserve and protect the place that we live, right? That’s white supremacy from me. People like to call it a mental illness, not it is a chosen is it is a chosen infestation. That we have to root out, right? It is something that is embedded and ingrained in folks that if we don’t dig it out, right? It will continue to be passed on. It’s something that is inherited, just like the trauma that is in our DNA; that has been inflicted on our ancestors because of white supremacy, right? And I think that it comes from a place

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of scarcity, right? So when you think about the folks who hold on to this idea, they typically come from regions where, like, resources were scarce, they had to make really difficult decisions about who got to live this winter and who didn’t. And when you look at the groups who have figured out how that collective power is the most important way to have power and have access and have mutual respect, typically come from places where that level of scarcity was not a huge part of their lives. And so I think that, um, this scarcity mentality is something that we see in the movement. We see it in a way that we talk about environmental justice work. We see in the way that we talk about democracy, work. We see it show up and how we choose which fights matter. And it’s something that we have to, we have to really separate ourselves from if we are going to actually win, right? Because we can’t win if we’re constantly compromising our values and compromising the people closest to the violence and the issues that we’re fighting for in order to gain surface level wins. That don’t really mean anything long-term or even short-term.

Jonathan: And what I love about what you were teasing out there is like this piece, about collectivism, right? And like when, like we build strong communities and we lean into that right as we’ve seen a lot more folks, you know, contribute to. Like, you know, sharing their paychecks, doing and engaging in mutual aid, driving folks to go to their medical appointments. We’ve seen so much more of that in the, in the wake of the pandemic, and like we’re getting to that point where, like we really are trusting the power of community. And I think also, that collectivism piece, also directly goes in opposition to white supremacy when we are thinking about how white supremacy is global, right? Because like, when I think about like why was supremacy, a lot of things come to mind right? Tiki torches among you know a lot of other things. But also I think about like-

Brittny: salmon colored pants, you know.

Jonathan: And you know without getting too political ’cause you know this is still Greenpeace’s channels and you know we have international offices. But I think about their authoritarian and fascist figures in, uh, other countries who are actually tearing down and burning our ecosystems to the

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ground and really impacting Indigenous folks and Black and Brown folks across the globe all in the pursuit of this individualis; in pursuit of like being able to hoard and have all this wealth. I mean beyond the fact that their philosophies are skewed and um,  it’s just violent. It’s also the fact that like these are people who are only invested in themselves and this like system that props them up and that actually doesn’t support our communities.

Brittny:  It’s also like –in the long run it’s not a sustainable way to exist. As someone who, who is only obsessed with themselves right? Because? It requires collectivism to build and maintain the infrastructure that allows them to to reap the benefits, and so if that breaks down completely, who are you going to profit from? Who’s gonna repair the rows that you are distributing your goods on?  Who’s going to, who’s gonna clean your house? Your huge house and take care of your kids because you’re too busy to raise them ’cause you don’t care right? Like how does that fit? Like at the end of the day, right? There’s a balance and they keep upsetting this balance in a way that is going to cause, it’s gonna cause Mother Earth and the universe to reset in a way that’s going to be very, very traumatic for us. She’s gonna be fine. We may not, and that’s what my concern is. I’m trying to be. I’m trying to be on the other side of this when, this when everything plays out.

Rico: There’s actually a former international executive Director of Greenpeace who would always say like “we’re not really trying to save the planet, like the planet then it’ll be OK. We’re really trying to save the humans on the planet, right?” By changing some of these systems. So I yeah, I very much agree with that. And something that you said too about the calls for compromise as soon as like the left gets the power it’s like “OK, but now we need to compromise. Let’s not let’s not be too extreme”, although literally we just endured over four years, not even expecting the slightest movement towards what we wanted. And I think that speaks to kind of how deeply rooted white supremacy is in our system. Is that like we are expected to understand, to provide explanations for why supremacy in all of its forms, whether it’s in the forms of the folks that were at the Capitol riots or in the form of President Trump, we are expected to…”empathize” is the word I think I’m looking for.

Brittny: Yeah, I mean I wouldn’t say white supremacy is in our system. I would say it is the system right? Because when you look at the way that even on like the Democrats adhere to this idea of statesmanship and the system itself, even when they realize that the other side was going to do whatever it was they felt like, right? And there was still this. “no, let’s just stay the course. Let’s do it.” Like, no, this is war. They’re not going to hold your hands. They’re not going to come to dinner after this, right? They have drawn a line in the sand, and you have to decide if you’re going across it or not. And I think that um. I’m excited about the freshmen who came in in this Congress because I feel like they’re going to really do everything they can to hold accountable within this system the folks who are, so it’s so deeply ingrained in them, to compromise and to find ways to meet in the middle because in a normal situation that would be fine and expected, because that’s how you govern in a legislative body. But we cannot compromise because the existence of this country is at stake, right? Like this is a very volatile, unstable movement that is filled with people who are not living in the reality that they are, not the majority and never have been on this Earth. And so that is a very dangerous thing when your identity in the very thing that your identity sits upon is shaken continuously by people that you’ve been told your entire life are inferior. That causes, that causes a shift, right? And we saw it after Obama. All of this anger all of the gun sales going up. You know, lynching apogees of him, setting them on fire, still blaming Obama? Four years into things, four years into 45, into his (thank God) his one term. There’s this separation from reality that is the key part in upholding white supremacy. We cannot coddle that like that’s the reason we got January 6. I see constantly frontline communities extending themselves opening themselves up, being vulnerable,

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being willing to engage with folks that they think have their best interest in mind, and then you see the eagle, the white supremacy that lingers, and people come up at the most terrible times, and then you see a community traumatized again. And I think that we have to really make a decision that it’s not. We cannot rely on anyone but ourselves to liberate us and to defend this Earth. And so this is an either or. This is not a grey area either. You’re on this side or you aren’t. Even if you aren’t, then we have to deal with that.

Jonathan: And I think that’s so real. And one thing I want to pull out from what you said is talking about compromise. ’cause like we had set this in previous episodes in the first season. If you haven’t listened to it, this is your plug to go ahead and find us on SoundCloud and all the, all the other stations. Ow, we also on Spotify yall, But um no. 

Brittny: Oww fancy.

Rico: No, yea shout em out, shout em out. 

Jonathan: We’re on Apple, just all of them. But no one of the things that we we we talk about is like compromise, but compromise at the expense of what, right? And what we really get down to is like compromise at the expense of like people’s lives, right? And so I think that’s why I liked in the media aftermath of January 6 in the capital attacked by these white supremacists. But then also we’ve seen that like throughout, like history, right? At the levels of government from elected officials as calling for compromise, right? But really, what they’re saying is not actually like compromise of trying to like operate in good faith with like solid morals and actually trying to. You know, like trying to make sure that communities are safe, but actually compromised so that they can keep their vested interest in like stocks or vested interest in the fossil fuel industry. Or like whatever it is. Also the other piece that your name and which will be my soapbox and will be the hill I die on, is like we really have to get away from Trump centered politics, right? Because when we’re having this critique, this analysis of white supremacy, we can’t be like OK, Trump is gone. Everything you know post-racial world. Like you know.

Brittny: The way that that happened almost immediately…it  was alarming to me.

Jonathan: It was scary!

Brittny:  In the spaces that i’m in? I was like no no no no. I know that those were your cousins, that you didn’t talk to on Thanksgiving. 

Jonathan: Did not talk to at Thanksgiving or at Halloween on, well, let’s talk about it. I think that’s like the thing that we really have to think about. It really is like this ecosystem of hatred and violence, genocide and all these things. And um, it really is up to us to like put a stop to it. But I think the other piece of like you’re amazing experience and why we have you here. What we kind of, we being like Rico and I and also the rest of the podcast team, we keep coming back to this point. It’s like, you know, we’ve seen it just escalate in the pandemic of mutual aid, people caring for each other. And that like communities are like the solutions are a part of the solution to actually getting us to not just like a healthier planet, but they like to be in the right relationship with one another, right? When like nobody could hug each other and then we all like started to value the warmth of a hug. The value of someone’s presence and what it really meant in and being a part of this larger picture. It’s not just community but like transformative change comes from like us working together and so just kind of like bridge that to a little bit of your work. I’m wondering if you could speak a little bit about how like we have this, this system’s critique of white supremacy, but also there’s work that’s happening right now to actually build those strong communities. To actually make sure that people are represented in that we’re actually building towards something better, because, like you said, these, these haters. They’re they’re in the minority there. They’re not the,the majority of the majority of the people, the will of the people is transformation. People want to be able to have healthy foods. Let me not go on a tangent but, healthy food, clean water and clean air. People want those things right. And how do we continue to like invest in those things in the people who are doing that work?

Brittny: I mean absolutely, I’m happy to talk about, but first I think it’s just really sad that it’s. It’s…sad to say that people want clean water and clean air and homes. And clothing and food that’s not killing them. That is not like…those are not what… we’re not asking for things that are not necessary to survive, right? And I think that’s crazy, and that’s

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what that’s where I like, that’s what I always come back to is just thinking about what I have been able to have access to just by the by nature of the spaces that I’m in and what the people that I’ve left behind back at home, what they don’t have access to. And who I’m talking for when they can’t be in the room, right? So I am happy to talk about the work that I do. I do many things, but in my day job I am the training and movement building coordinator at the Democracy Initiative, which is a coalition of about 76. We’ve added a couple folks that are really interested in democracy last year, so we’ve added some organizations. 76 organizations spread across the movement in the environmental justice space, in the racial justice space. Policy groups, legacy groups. Those good government groups. We bring them all together to look at how we can use democracy reform at the federal at the state at the local level and democracy fights to increase our chances of winning on the issues that matter to us, right? So like it’s our job to connect the dots between democracy, which is this kind of like amalgamous thing to the issues that keep people up at night right? Like the reality that you have not had clean water and almost a decade, Flint I’m looking at you. The reality. See that you can afford electricity because you know there’s a monopoly in the company that refuses to allow for solar to subset costs, right? I mean, I could name several places that’s happening. All of these things that really matter to people and could impact their lives. And we do it from a race class analysis, right? And so it’s important that we all recognize, and this is something that we, at least in the work that I do, I carry with me is that like the people closest to the problem, have the right answers to the solutions. They are the solutions, right? “The most oppressed lead the best,” a s my former E.D.,Wendy, used to say, right like that was her mantra. That’s something that I’ve carried throughout my just my experience as an organizer.

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I’ve been doing this work for about 11 years and in my current job I’m responsible for two bodies of work. I develop all the trainings that we do. Where we work to connect the dots to popular education training. So we use people’s experiences to get them to understand just different elements of democracy, the process, how power functions, different issues that are happening, and we connect that to fights on the ground so that people once they get an understanding of why this matters, then they can get plugged into a real fight on the ground and put that energy into affect and change that they can see this tangible. The other part of my job.

Rico:  You said that like it was very simple.

Jonathan: Right!? Like I’m saying though, right, saying it with ease!

Brittny:  It is, it is. OK, I’ll give yall an example.

Rico: Please. 

Brittny: Rico, give me give me an issue that bothers you that’s happening in your neighborhood right now. Something that the issue has been plaguing the community for a while.

Rico:  So not too far from where I live there is an issue with pollution. The pollution in the water. There’s a few different local EJ organizations that work on that has to do with different things with pipes. There’s a number of things, but basically the upshot is folks don’t have clean water. 

Brittny: Folks don’t have clean water right? And so that clean water is the responsibility of the county. When you elect folks, you elect people who determine what their priorities are and if their priorities are not this Black and Brown neighborhood that needs clean pipes so that folks can have clean water they’re not going to distribute that money there if they’re not connected to the people in that community, and so when we engage in that process and we elect those folks, we elect them with the energy that we gonna be watching you every step of the way and will become see when we say we need something with our tax dollars were gonna move you, right? And then we can advocate. And once you do that, and when you elect people and engage with folks. And you are invested in the process about how policy is developed, how dollars are spent, where money is allocated, who was being, who the jobs for replacing those pipes are being outsourced to, right? Because that’s exactly what happened in Flint. They wanted to cut corners.The decision making power was removed from local officials and put in the hands of a city manager who did not care about anything other than cutting costs. And now we have entire generations of people who are going to be suffering, and we’re going to be subject to the criminal justice system. They’re going to be subject to schools were. That are already underfunded and they’re going to be subject to all of the health issues in a country that acts like. It is a third world country with a fake Gucci belt and can’t get it together…

Rico: Wow! (audible laugh) 

Brittny: So we could have like things like paid sick leave and paid family leave and I don’t know universal healthcare, right? That’s how democracy is connected to the things that matter to you right? Democracy in the process and engaging in this determines whether or not you have clean water. It determines whether or not your kids go to schools where they have more security guards than they have counselors. It determines whether or not you have a grocery store in your neighborhood or public transportation that’s fully funded. And maintained so that you can get away the grocery store is. It plays a role and every part of our life. And it really is. It’s it’s easy for me, I think because it’s always been an integral part of my life just by nature of how I grew up, I grew up in a family with two educators. My parents were teachers. Mom still a teacher. Dad’s still a principle back in Buffalo and I used to sit on the line the picket lines with them when they went on strike it took them 12 years to get a new contract. We did not have any dentist who would take our dental insurance. For most of my childhood, like that’s the reality, and because we couldn’t we engage in that process, right? Like we there were rights that they had within their union and they put pressure as an entity, as a collective, to demand what they deserve as teachers who are spending everyday shaping the minds of the next generation. And they eventually got that right. And so that’s how I grew up. Like I grew up in a family like that, and throughout my career, right, I got my start in labor work for the teachers, same teachers, union work for the Working Families Party in two states, right? In New York, I worked to help pass the Climate Communities Protection Act right, with New Yorker News I, my territory was everything from Albany to Buffalo, which is about 40% of the land mass of the state. Even in that space. I’ve seen rural communities subjected to those gas storage facilities that were literally exploding and causing mushroom clouds in an area with farmers with kids who literally are just having random nosebleeds and are losing their hearing and are having all types of issues, right? So like urban areas like Rochester where folks can’t even really invest in solar because it has a ridiculous amount of tress. It’s significantly renter-occupied and landlords don’t care to actually put some energy into energy efficiency because they’re not paying the electric bill. So we’re looking at families, single parent homes, where folks are spending almost 2/3rds half of their income on heating bills in the winter. Throughout my career I engaged an just different spaces and seen how democracy plays a role in the process and how if we build the people power and we channel the power that we already have, we can affect change. That’s a roundabout way of bringing me to the most exciting part of my job, which is our fellowship program is something that I think we we can never do too much of. And so it is the Bayard Rustin Democracy Fellowship program. It is named after Bayard Rustin, and if you don’t know who he is, he is a Black queer Quaker. He is a civil rights strategy. He’d the most formidable civil rights strategist of his time. The man behind the million man March. On Washington, right at the side of greats like John Lewis, who is my fave may he rest in peace and Martin Luther King and Bayard was someone who was very straight to the point. We gon get democracy, that we gon get free the way we want to in this society that we build is going to be shaped the way we build it. So we need to hold on to the principles that we want to see in the society that we’re creating and that’s it. He did not compromise on that. And he did not care. He was a. He was an audacious, outgoing, outspoken, uncompromising person who did not care if you knew he was gay because he knew he was brilliant and that was none of your business, right? And this is in the 60s. OK? So for him to be in a movement filled with ministers, southern ministers and folks who are all about like respectability, and presenting this image of Black people that is deserving of humanity, right? He is at the bottom of the list, but you know, in all of that work he still persevered and managed to really just be incredibly successful and be someone who’s not talked about enough and so our program is named after him. We got permission from the family and the intent is to create more Bayard’s. Folks who understand that democracy is something that needs to be championed and interwoven into every part of the work we’re in. Our first year we have mentors and mentees that we’re matching. We want folks Black, brown, queer folks to engage to sign up so they can participate and get matched with a mentor. Someone who has 10 to 20 years of experience so that they can learn how to navigate these bases. Because the reality is is Black and Brown people come into these spaces because we have to because it’s our communities, our families that are dying, our communities that are being poisoned, our communities that are being stripped of resources right and being underserved and not being heard. We come into this because we have to, but then we come into these spaces and because of white supremacy in the way that it shows up in liberal spaces. We burnout we’re never paid fairly, were not given that were not given the professional development of the support that we need. We are not heard. We’re used to be the workhorses in our own communities, and then we also have to take the fall when poor choices, important strategic planning and lack of knowledge and experience. What happens in our communities? And we have to be the face of it. Even though we had no hand in shaping their strategy, right it? 

Jonathan: If I, if I can, you know, there’s so many gold Nuggets, but I have to stop there. ’cause like. Yes, again that that aspect of white supremacy culture where not only are you positioning Black and Brown folks, indigenous folks as like the workhorses, right?, folks, you’re putting all this burden on, but then you scapegoat them when it decision that you made. It doesn’t go right. You know, there’s a message there. There’s a sermon there, but that’s a different. That’s different. That’s a different episode, different episode. And I’m trying to make sure everyone keeps their jobs. But, you know, I, I appreciate. I appreciate all of which you offering. I, really, I really feel like. We have to rename the episode to “BARS” ’cause like I feel like that’s all I’ve heard this whole time, just straight bars. I know it’s it’s wonderful.

Brittny: Just to go back to this program though, like it really is something that I’ve given the last two years of my life to, because it’s something I wish I had right when I was forced out of organizations that claim to be for people like me that claims to want to advance the lives and improve the improve peoples access that forced me out because I didn’t conform and I was honest about what they were doing wrong or what needed to change. And being an advocate, you know the level of impostor syndrome and the trauma that happens, right? There’s no one. There was no one to pick me up and, and tell me that it wasn’t me that I knew what I was doing and I wasn’t wrong and that I need to continue. But this program is that for. Is that for this generation. Because we have to develop the next generation of by addresses we’re not going to affect this change if our leaders are not from the communities that are suffering the most. If they don’t have the lived experiences. Because we intellectualize too much the experiences of people in this movement and we overvalue people who have studied maybe taking a class may be done, some Googling or some slight research or paid a consultant to tell them what Black people think. Or will Brown people think, or what the the the indigenous folks think, right? Like instead of actually engaging in, elevating those people who know it themselves and not only had the lived experiences, but also have the organizing experience and the talent and the knowledge to bring it all together to create winning strategies. Right, like that’s what this program is designed to do. It is designed to create a space where folks can be paid accordingly to their value, and not according to what white supremacy has put on us. And to make sure that they are supported, we have one fellow now. This year we are hoping to take on two or three and we focus on…

Rico: This is in DC?

Brittny: Its virtual, you know covid, we all are punishment, but the idea even before Covid, was that we’d have like 2 in DC and then two in other, like in our core in our core state. So we have a few states that we’re really focused on. Michigan is one because it ranks 50th in transparency, so you can see how Flint happened and then other places like Maryland

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were there fighting for public financing campaigns that will allow for more Black and Brown people, more folks from the community to run for office and represent their folks accordingly, right? And so the idea is to place folks in those states in a leadership role based on their lane of expertise. So thats field, that might be policy, that might be data analysis. And we place them in a row where they get to have some input on how that strategy is developed, implemented, executed, and engage with. And I’m also forgetting that the final of the four is communications right? Because these narratives, these narratives about us are never formed by us, and that is, that is an important part of how we are failing to engage folks around issues that are the very thing that is causing them that is causing them harm. And so it really. It excites me, because this program is something that I think has the potential to create an entire generation of Bayard Rustin’s who are committed, connected to the community. And unapologetic and uncompromising and how we get free. One last really important thing, right? And this is the most important part about this fellowship program, because we recognize that is not Black and Brown people who are the problem, it is the organizations and the culture that they have that runs out Black and Brown leaders. And so what we do is we work with partner organizations that are committed to shifting their culture so that they can accept leadership from Black and Brown people. Because it makes no sense to subject these folks to more harm and have them and have them running for the hills, or run into the private sector or running to be lobbyists, right? So that’s something that really is like the core anchor part of this is like you need to check yourselves and look at your HR structure and who you’re hiring and how you’re engaging with folks and what energy you’re giving out before we put these folks in your care. So, I know that we’re not the issue. OK?

Rico: Word. And I am glad you added that part because I do see a parallel between the approach that you’re taking with the Fellowship and how you’re working with Democracy Initiative. Like with Democracy Initiative, rather than just focusing on getting people engaged with the vote, getting out the vote, getting engaged in local politics and why it’s so important. But also like let’s look at the barriers to voting the berries to some of the levers of democracy and and trying to work to remove those barriers to make the vote even more impactful. Similarly with the fellowship like its dope even just by itself that you know folks are getting this leadership development and that they’re getting paid while they’re doing it is not just to come get this experience, but you’re getting money, opportunity, they get to have an active role in creating strategy at the same time. But then they also have mentorship so their support, so we’re not setting them up for failure. That’s great. All of those things by themselves. But then to additionally do the work with organizations to uproot some of the white supremacy culture that, you know, that doesn’t support having these leaders in these spaces, so I think I think it’s really, really dope that you are looking at things holistically on both. I will definitely be referring some folks I know for this fellowship, and it sounds like you are doing the right thing. So so Congrats on that. 

Brittny: Thank you. It has been a labor of love.

Rico: And it does lead us to our main course which is “what do we need now to heal our democracy and to tackle some of these systems that you have been so eloquently describing where she folks put their focus now?”

Brittny: Yeah, I mean, I think that folks are taking a really deep breath after last, the presidential cycle, and they should. But we’ve had January and now it’s time to like focus in the states on the state legislatures because all of the states that implemented things like vote by Mail, early voting all of those reforms to make it easier and safer for people to vote. And those states where they’re concerned about the significant turn out of Black and Brown people who they claim couldn’t be bothered with the process. Now are going to be fighting to scale that back so that we don’t have those continued rights and that access and so folks have to be watching their state legislatures keep an eye on what’s going on there. Get involved with organizations that are doing activism around that. In many states they’re having closed legislatures, but you can watch on zoom, so just figure out what ways, or maybe like the state website is live streaming. So just keep an eye on that and find the groups on the ground that are doing the work and figure out how you can mobilize either in person or virtually. The other thing is that like I know, Congress is not sexy. But HR1, The For the People Act, and HR4 which is the John Lewis Voting Rights Act are super important. We, they are going to reset this system. Our voting system, which is largely dysfunctional. And intentionally discriminatory and exclusionary. So keep an eye out for what’s going on with HR1 and HR 4 because we need to make sure that, one the agenda is set until we codified. And by codify I mean. Set into law. The fact that we can keep vote-by-mail, we can keep early voting. We can keep automatic registration. We can keep same day registration all of those things that make it easier, safer to participate in the process.

Rico: Word so that’s HR1 and then HR4?

Brittny: HR4 really, that’s just making sure that those states that were mentioned in the voting, in the initial Voting Rights Act that was gutted, that gets restored and that there is a new formula for how we figure out which states need their hand held and how they determine how they run. They’re voting structures because we know that some places (Georgia) excuse me, and Texas and Florida right, and Mississippi and Alabama. I can go on, right? All have a tendency to establish laws that make it very difficult for older folks, for Black folks, for rural Black and Brown folks, all of the groups of people that could shift those states blue as we saw in Georgia, right? When you engage folks, they show up and turn out to make sure that they don’t get access to this. So HR4 is really important in making sure that we restore the Voting Rights Act and then also even if you don’t live in DC, HR51 is super important, right? Like DC deserves to be a state they could not even call the National Guard themselves, right on January 6th. These folks stormed the capital. The capital is not just the halls of government, it is a place where regular people take their children to daycare, right? It is an entire complex. Then they put the lives of regular folks at risk, and that’s not cool. And folks in DC, the mayor of DC should have the power to call the National Guard. And especially when it’s clear that we had a tyrant in charge who abstained from engaging the National Guard when it was clearly a call for them to step in. So listen, HR51 is also super important. It will give DC states rights. We pay taxes, we pay high taxes, yeah, and we don’t have any of we don’t have any of the rights that that folks in all of the States have. We deserve a Congress member that has power. We deserve to have some say in what happens in this country because this is also like the centralization of the power of this country, and so we should have more input and more control and more rights. So keep an eye out for those things and then also you know. Check us out of the Democracy Initiative if you want to learn more about why the Post office is super important or you want to understand why Senate governance and the filibuster is trash and needs to be destroyed, right? If you want to talk, come talk to me and learn a little bit about why minority Leader Mitch McConnell is still trying to, has been fighting all of the bills that we have been fighting to get passed over the last 20 years, “Come on over to death row”, you know, come check us out, we will be doing trainings all year to educate and engage folks and I’m happy to train you to do those trainings yourself and share the good word with the people. 

Jonathan: Aye and for our listeners who are not familiar with that reference. I do want to give credit where credit is due the line “come over to death row” is iconic and it was not only well placed it was It was just well timed and so. If you are not familiar with that, we don’t have time to go into the cultural significance of that line. I just would implore you to go to youtube.com or wherever you watch videos and look up “Come over to death row.” It’s a part of not just Black history, but American history. But in all seriousness, and, and again, you know this Brittny ’cause you know we work on those issues, HR1, HR4, HR51 the things that are wrong with the system. These are like systemic level approaches to try and fix those things, right? When we’re talking about John Lewis again, Rest in power, when we’re talking about the John Lewis Voting Rights Act HR four. It’s restoring what was gutted right all those years ago or talking about HR51. The fact that like DC really is a colony where like people are taxed and over policed and all these things right? And really don’t have a voice for themselves, or at least in a representative government and then HR1, which is like this piece of legislation that is 700 plus pages and probably you, myself, and like four other people have read it, but you know it’s it’s huge package, right? That really tries to get at these levels, and I think that’s what we really have to get to, and I think that’s kind of like Greenpeace’s stance, right? You have the Biden-Harris administration, you have Dems in the house. You have Dems in the Senate and it’s really time to push towards these things that are actually going to do those those significant shifts that that really like you said impact people’s lives. And so I really just want to up like that again. That, like you know, this is not what they say this “this this ain’t your uncles hip hop.” Is that the same? I think that’s right. You have to stay the same or what is it? Yeah “it ain’t yo Momma’s Civil rights movement” But you know I’m saying it but essentially saying that isn’t just like you know something to gloss over. Just like people sometimes hear “policy” or just like Oh well you know….”But that’s for someone over there.” But like you’re saying is like your work in the DI taking this approach like we’re not just pushing for these policies that are transformative. We’re actually putting our money where our mouth is, paying people so they can feed themselves and take care of themselves, get that deep experience for them. Actually allowing people who are leaders in their own community to do the talking to do the work. So yeah, just super hats off to you and really just like appreciate you how you broke that down, yeah?

Brittny: Thank you, thank you. I also want to flag that if you’re in West Virginia or Arizona, we’re going to need pressure on, on your Congress members because they are acting up OK, right? Sinema in Arizona, and Machin in West Virginia, folks, we’re going to be mobilizing, organizing this year. ’cause this is next year’s midterms and it’s going to be here before we know it. And so we have to make sure that we maintain the power that we all poured into 2020’s presidential and the federal races. And we gotta hold the line. We don’t want to see what happened under Obama where we almost had, almost had healthcare, almost had all of these things that we were pushing for and then we lost it because we didn’t hold on line in Congress. So there’s always work to be done. There is always a place to plug in and there’s definitely a place for you in the movement.

Rico: Y’all kind of like the Justice League, right? Democracy initiative? That’s kind of the vibe? 

Brittny: You know we have. We have convened the greatest of the greats in our 45 million members. You know we stick labor on folks when we need to. It’s a, it’s a fun time. We got some good, we got a good team.

Rico: Just kind of like hearing you breakdown these different fights and kind of like you know what the problem is from a systemic level and then very specifically like “yo here all these different ways you can plug in.” I want to hear like what, zooming out, What do you imagine for the future? What are..you talked about your North star like what does that liberation look like? What do you? What are you excited about in the next few years? 

Brittny: What am I excited about in the next few years, honestly? I look forward to turning this program into literally like the Justice League of Black Politicos, Black organizers, Black activists who take this moment movement over. Black and Brown, because it’s black, Brown, anybody down that can participate in the program. Being, really being the change makers and just seeing them take off and that as we start to like as my former Union boss used to say, “as we plant seeds” and folks and just watch them grow, we come back in five years and just be able to tap into that. I’m excited about that. I’m also really looking forward to all the fights we’re going to have with the Biden-Harris administration because I know they’re coming. I’m looking so forward to that too. And honestly I’m really looking forward to the end of COVID, you know I, I miss family. I miss being outside. I miss you know, I miss doing other things and I look forward to after this break that we have been forced to give Mother Earth. So really just going to some water somewhere that’s blue and just looking out and appreciating all the things that we took for granted before.

Rico: Our guess today was Brittny Baxter, the training and movement building coordinator for the Democracy Initiative. Go follow her. You’re already on the internet, on Twitter, at backs Brittny, that’s BAXBRITTNY.

Rico: And now for the most important part of the podcast where we tell you how you can take action. So it’s real simple, this month we just want you to follow Brittny and the Democracy Initiative already gave you her handle, but again, that’s at BAXBRITTNY. Also follow directly the Democracy Initiative at @Unite4Democracy. You’re going to want to pay attention to them because you need to get important updates on HR1 and HR4 and how you can continue to help pressure representatives to make sure that those initiatives get past. Let’s keep doing the work, yeah. And in addition to that, wherever you listen to this podcast, be at Stitcher or anchor, or podcast.com, or Google Podcasts, or SoundCloud, or Spotify, or iTunes, I think already says Spotify. They probably have a “subscribe” , a “like” and a “follow” button. Go ahead and click that, share with your friends rate, comment, whatever because we want to continue to amplify this platform and provide it for grassroots leaders all over the country. And that’s it for now. Hope you take care of yourself and we’ll see you next time on.. 

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