Bernie killed it in the Bronx yesterday
‘This campaign is about creating a political revolution, you are the heart and soul of this revolution’
Senator Bernie Sanders held a rally at St. Mary’s Park in the Bronx Thursday evening. An estimated 15,000 supports gathered to get a chance to see the presidential contender speak two weeks before the New York primary on April 19. The event featured opening speeches from NYU alumnus Spike Lee, actress Rosario Dawson, Puerto Rican rapper Residente, and assemblyman Luis Sepulveda.
Doors opened at 4pm, but lines formed as early as 12pm. Although Bernie has centered his campaign on taking the country back from the rich, the rally had a friendly and optimistic ambiance, similar to a music festival. Activists handed out fliers, vendors sold Bernie gear, and some standing in line formed circles to play hacky sack.
Inside, the atmosphere changed from chill to ecstatic. Music, ranging from disco to salsa, boomed from speakers as rally-goers flooded into the park.
Like most of Bernie’s events, a slew of young people made up a majority of the audience. The Bronx’s huge Latino population was equally represented, with “Unidos con Bernie” (United with Bernie) posters and a plethora of Puerto Rican flags flapping in the breeze.
Bernie’s speech reflected his audience, as he promised to “reinvest” in the poverty-stricken South Bronx by revitalizing the public schools and medical services in the area. He assured the crowed that with him in the White House the government will no longer pander to “the millionaires and billionaires,” but it will work for all Americans.
With the New York primary inching closer and closer, Bernie wasted no time contrasting himself to Hillary Clinton, who has used a super PAC to fund her candidacy, made friends with Wall Street, and supported the Iraq War.
“As some of you know, Secretary Clinton has given a lot of speeches on Wall Street behind closed doors and she has received 250,000 bucks a speech,” he said hoarsely. “Now, I kinda think that if you are gonna get paid $250,000 for a speech, it must be a brilliant speech, it must be an earth-shattering speech written in Shakespearean prose.”
The event ended with Bernie encouraging all of his supporters to vote on April 19.
“The status quo is not working, but Bernie Sanders cannot address these issues alone,” he said waving his fists in the air. “We need millions to create a political revolution. If we win here, in New York, we are going to make it to the White House.”
We spoke to some of the thousands of people at the rally to ask them why they’re feeling the Bern.
“Bernie is the only person you can trust out of the lot,” said photographer Maegan Gindi, who was taking free portraits of people in line. “Everything he’s said has been consistent with what he believes in, unlike Hillary who is constantly flip-flopping.”
Christian Johnson, a photographer who was helping Maegan added: “He’s doing an excellent job at addressing wage inequality. People are being forced to do a lot for very little right out of school, it’s just not sustainable.”
A group of high-schoolers formed a hacky sack circle and invited me to join. We talked politics in between passes. “A lot of people are saying that this generation is apathetic, but that’s not the case,” a student said as he kicked the sack over to his friend. “All they need is someone to electrify them to fight this rigged system.”
“Bernie’s plan to change the justice system is the most appropriate and progressive,” said supporter Byron D. Montalvan. “The police should reflect the community it polices and they should be treated like civilians if they overstep their bounds.”
Byron’s friend, Sam King, who was sporting a Bernie wig said: “It’s absolutely insane that we have more inmates than any other country in the world. Bernie’s been saying ‘Jobs and education, not jail and incarceration’ for years, it’s time to make that happen.”