Working for Something New

This is a transcript of a speech that Benji Ramirez Gomez made on Wednesday, November 4 at a Count Every Vote demonstration at the Wisconsin State Capitol.

I’m here to speak on behalf of the Madison DSA but before I do I’d like to introduce myself. 

I’m the son of two undocumented immigrants. So when I talk about socialism, I talk about socialism from the context of imperialism of the US. When I talk about my parents’ struggle, I can’t help but talk about hope. Hope is what brought my parents to this country. Hope is what keeps us going. Hope is what I find out in the streets every day. And so when I talk about socialism, I’m talking about undoing the things and the systems that keep people that look like me, people that look like my Black brothers and sisters out here, oppressed, in jails, uninsured, and I say shame to that. I say shame to the American Dream. It’s an American nightmare. 

And so when I talk about socialism, I’m out here every day working for something new. If there’s anything we have learned through these past few months since the murder of George Floyd, it’s that we need to center BIPOC voices right now. We need to center the people who are most vulnerable to the systems of oppression. And so when we come out here into the streets, I want you to hold that in your heart. I want you to know that when we’re out here creating something new, that is a Black, queer, feminist vision that we’re building. Right? We’re out here building something, we’re out here setting the conditions and putting in the bricks so that we can build a new future where everybody’s free. Because nobody’s free till we’re all free. 

I joined the DSA at the end of this summer after building community, after building solidarity, out in the streets. After being tired of being afraid. I don’t have room in my heart for fear anymore. I don’t have room in my heart for any more fascists. I don’t have room in my heart to watch my people die. In case you don’t know, thirteen percent of COVID deaths in Wisconsin have been Black bodies. Shame! Sixteen percent of COVID deaths in Wisconsin have been Latino and Latina bodies. Shame! So we’re out here to put pressure on the people who put us in these conditions. 

We’re out here building new leaders. I look out here and I see a crowd of leaders. You guys are out here doing the work, you guys are out here as the sun has clearly set, as the temperature drops, and you’re still out here pouring your hearts out into these streets. that’s leadership. You guys are out here getting to know each other. You guys are out here building these horizontal relations which turn the hierarchy of the state upside down.

I want to raise a fist to all of ya’ll. I want you to look inside and see the light that informs the work that we’re doing. Because we’re building something better. Right? 

So I’m out here to speak on behalf of the DSA. I joined the DSA because I see the DSA as a space of hope. I see socialism as a space of hope. I see socialism as an alternative because we’re not letting this happen to us anymore. We’re going to dismantle these systems and if takes one lifetime, if it takes two lifetimes, if it takes three, we’re doing it for the next seven generations. Because that’s how far and deep our love is. 

On behalf of the DSA and on behalf of my brothers out with Black Umbrella, with LINK, I want to raise our collective voice and actually announce my candidacy for District 4 Alder [on the Madison Common Council]. We’re tired. We’re ready for a new Madison. We are ready to raise the voices of everybody here and everybody who couldn’t vote. Because in the end, voting is still a privilege that is not extended to incarcerated people, that is not extended to undocumented folks. And they’re still getting taxed and they’re still getting counted for all of the population and it’s fucked. It’s fucked! If I know something about this country’s history, it’s that there was a revolution about taxation without representation at some point. 

So I’m out here to be a voice for all of ya’ll. And if you’ll have me, I’m ready to build something different. Thank you.

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