27,500 Angelenos Feel the Bern

Image: “Bernie Sanders for President” by Phil Roeder / CC BY 2.0

I’ve always felt that living in Los Angeles is a privilege and a curse. Sometimes when I get a ticket for parking next to a “no parking” sign only the guy from A Beautiful Mind could decipher, I have to take a minute to appreciate the city I live in. After years of living in Los Angeles, I’ve never felt the type of spirit in the air as I did last night at Senator Bernie Sanders’ rally at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. I was a bit skeptical at first: just days prior, Bernie’s rally in Seattle was interrupted by two Black Lives Matter protestors. Albeit I don’t agree with the manner of protest, the image of a majority white liberal crowd chanting the two African American women off stage is a piercing one that reflects just how truly people treat race in this country. It’s all cool and fun to post #BlackLivesMatter on Twitter or stir up Facebook debates with former high school classmates, however you can’t choose when and where your empathy begins and ends. You’re either for the cause or not. Protest isn’t silent. It isn’t convenient.

However my concerns were eased when Sanders’ team of presenters illuminated the stage to rile up the crowd of screaming hipsters and  passionate liberals. One speaker in particular made a lasting impression. Symone Sanders (not related to the candidate), the newly appointed press secretary and black criminal justice advocate and a strong supporter of #BlackLivesMatter movement, addressed the movement and made it abundantly clear that Bernie Sanders is an ally to the cause. When black lives become hashtags in a split second due to police brutality, from Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin to  Sandra Bland, and Sam Dubose, it’s crucial that presidential candidates not only say they’re an ally, but make tangible efforts to show they are. Sanders is one of the only candidates that falls in this category.

When asked why he supports Bernie Sanders, UCLA student Brian Carolus says, “integrity, record and consistence is important. Bernie doesn’t flip flop. He’s had some the same progressive stances on issues since he was a student.”

Senator Bernie Sanders is one of the only candidates who’s fought for women’s rights, progressive taxation, and environmental protection, immigration and criminal justice reform for decades. Lauded for walking with Martin Luther King in the 1960s, Sanders seemed to continue this work when he said, “There is no president that will fight harder to end institutional racism,” it will be interesting to see what Sanders does today for racial equality and police brutality.

Many people came to the rally to understand who Bernie really is: behind the Twitter account, Facebook posts, and creative #FeelTheBern hashtags.

UCLA Student Heather Vaughan decided to come to the rally along with her friends and family and said, “I’m excited to learn. And I’m excited to just hear this candidate and see if he can convince me to support him.”

It’s easy to assume every feminist will support Hillary Clinton. However with endorsements from actress and comedian Sarah Silverman, and National Nurses United, the largest organization of nurses, Sanders continues to rise as a candidate feminists can vote for.

 

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