As each of the presidential candidates came into rise; one by one I thought "opportunist". Literally all of them. All but one; Bernie Sanders. I heard the name floating around but was not familiar with who this guy was. Curious, I slowly did my research. I just knew my impression would eventually get to: "opportunist", so I researched little by little. To my surprise, unlike many of the other candidates, he was the first to demonstrate CONSISTENCY; in a positive way. WOW. He supported #BLACKLIVESMATTER before the hashtag; before it was "politically correct". He voted against discriminatory marriage before the LGBT was viewed as a crowd to gain votes. His many and continued successful initiatives for lower income housing was also touching. Got a really good feel of what he stood for before attending the rally, but I still had my doubts; after all, everyone is an opportunist to a certain extent. I had recently heard him speak on equal pay and women's rights, but that was an element I felt he hadn't strongly addressed through his career based on my research at the time.
The morning I was walking into the rally, I met an older black woman. She mentioned she had known Bernie for years and that he marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We talked about how disappointed we were that protestors recently crashed a speaking engagement of his. Many African Americans, particularly in my generation failed to do their research and just viewed him as another white politician oppressing our people. They may have just seized the opportunity to gain mainstream attention. Who knows. It wasn't a good representation and we discussed our hopes that many realize that he has actually stood with us for decades; organizing sit-ins during the Civil Rights Movement. No other candidate can say this.
I walked into the rally (not many African Americans in attendance) also awaiting Symone Sanders, the campaign's national press secretary; an African American Woman. I waited and she arrived! Her energy; nothing short of a queen! She hyped the crowd using her tool of diction to start the rally and introduced speakers before Bernie got on stage; Jayde Allon being one of them. She is a law student at Furman and spoke in agreeance on Mr. Sanders' views of reform for student debt; personally being a student with loans herself. (Join the club)
Symone's presence really moved me; catching a few selfies with her after the rally! I was interviewed by Jason Horowitz, political writer for the New York Times, asked "What did Symone's presence mean to me?"
My first thought was "I wonder if you asked white people this same question," but then I answered; lost in the moment. I now can answer this question clearly:
While her presence may be seen as a political opportunity; Bernie Sanders has shown good consciousness to my race, culture, gender, and the continued years of oppression we face. He uses his platform as an opportunity; the right one. Symone Sanders being the face of his campaign draws awareness that #BLACKWOMENMATTER. We too, should be present in all platforms. We are capable (more than) of holding positions of statue, and should no longer struggle to receive these opportunities based on biased views rooted in racism and sexism. Symone's energy personifies a black woman; this is inspiring.
Bernie uses his platform to address issues that many feel like only the oppressed party should be fighting against. I admire him and was deeply moved by this rally and the issues he is honestly passionate about. Check out all the vids to hear words from Bernie himself. If I had to vote tomorrow, he would definitely get my vote!