The following is a speech Brittany Ramos DeBarros gave in June 23 in Washington, DC in front of thousands at the national rally organized by the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.
Brittany Ramos DeBarros
I’m a woman, I’m white, I’m Latina, I’m Black, I’m queer, and I’m a combat veteran. As a person existing at the intersection of these identities, I carry a grave conviction in my core that there can be no economic, racial or gender liberation without addressing the militarism that is strangling the empathy and morality out of our society. For decades we have been lulled into complacency and inattention as our drones have obliterated weddings, funerals, religious ceremonies, ordinary homes and ordinary people.
It is no mistake that we are waging war in at least seven countries and all of them are mostly impoverished, Black, brown and Muslim countries. The same systems that shame and dehumanize us based on our skin color or documentation status or bank account here, want us to believe that those injustices have nothing to do with us. They want us to believe that the precious lives of our soldiers are being spent for the protection of our freedoms.
I spent a year witnessing the bravery and the beauty of the Afghan people, men and women, fathers and mothers, risking their lives to overcome oppressive organizations that we funded and enabled. I cannot forget their faces. This is a racial justice issue. This is a gender justice issue. This is an economic justice issue.
We begrudge the poor the pennies we give them to eat and survive,
but cheer for the nearly $600 billion annually we spend on defense. The military industrial complex is literally corporate greed weaponized. The United States government is the largest weapons dealer on the planet and the largest user of those weapons.
From the militarized equipment in which our police forces and federal agencies are clad to the large percentage of current and former soldiers conditioned for war and then hired to occupy our streets to keep peace, is it any wonder that our neighborhoods are treated like combat zones and our neighbors like enemy combatants?
From the toxic masculinity that objectifies our bodies as nothing more than weapons or toys, to the nationalism that tears us away from the true patriotism that is demanding that America live up to the dream that it has always been.
These wars are immoral. Profiting off of killing is immoral. It is time to stand up, and we won’t be silent anymore!
DeBarros’s social media protest of U.S. military draws wide support
Brittany Ramos DeBarros, a national organizer in the Poor People’s Campaign and active in the New York State campaign, is a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve assigned to the Psychological Operations Command.
She has drawn on her own experience in the military to highlight state terrorism inflicted by the Armed Forces around the world as well as the high poverty and suicide rates of soldiers and veterans.
When DeBarros went on active duty in July, she scheduled a post on Twitter each day in protest, with the hashtag #DropTheMIC. MIC refers to the military industrial complex, and the hashtag is used by About Face: Veterans Against the War,
an organization DeBarros is part of.
Army Times caught wind of DeBarros’s posts and ran a story alleging an investigation into her conduct. Then Business Insider followed up on July 23 with the headline, “An Army officer is publicly protesting the US government’s ‘war machine’ — and it’s gotten the Army’s attention.”
DeBarros has received hundreds of comments of support on social media from fellow combat veterans and others who follow Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s assessment that the U.S. government has become “the largest purveyor of violence on the planet.”
CUSLAR adds our voice in thanking Capt. DeBarros for the courage to speak up according to Army Values such as honor, integrity and selfless service. -Ed.