Bernie Sanders Chicago 2020 speech focuses on fight against racism

The Vermont senator concluded a two-part launch in the Windy City, harking back to his student days in the civil rights era

In the city that inspired his political activism, Bernie Sanders concluded a two-part presidential campaign launch with a personal anecdote: As a college student in Chicago, he was arrested during a civil rights protest against segregation of public schools.

Before a crowd of 12,500 at the Navy Pier on Sunday night, Sanders recalled that in the 1960s, school officials in Chicago set up portable trailers for black students to keep them from attending white schools.

One day, many of us went to the spot where they planned to put the trailers, Sanders said. We were corralled by a police line and told not to cross that line.

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Well, some of us did cross that line!

An exuberant crowd roared in applause.

As Sanders embarks on a second bid for the White House to, as he says, finish what we started, the 77-year-old democratic socialist is attempting to build a new kind of campaign that avoids a key weakness of his 2016 run by expanding his appeal to nonwhite voters.

At rallies in Brooklyn and Chicago this week, Sanders injected his now-familiar policy speech with details of his biography, part of a new approach his advisers and aides hope will help to distinguish him connect with voters as he competes in a historically diverse field, led by women and minority candidates.

All of the familiar policy planks were there in Chicago: Medicare for all, tuition-free public college and a $15 minimum wage. But in the middle of his remarks he offered a glimpse of the personal experiences that helped to shape them.

The reason I tell you all of this is because my activities here in Chicago taught me a very important lesson, he said. Whether it is the struggle is against racism, or sexism, or corporate greed, or homophobia, environmental devastation, or war and militarism or religious bigotry – real change never takes place from the top on down. It always takes place from the bottom on up.

In Brooklyn, Sanders said one of the proudest days of my life was being in Washington with the marchers when Martin Luther King delivered his I have a dream speech.

During his last campaign, the Vermont independent struggled to win over African Americans and other minority voters. But since losing to Hillary Clinton, Sanders has worked to strengthen ties with the black community, he continues to face criticism for the way his speaks about race and racism.

Supporters wait for Bernie Sanders in Chicago Photograph: Nam Y Huh/AP

History defines him, Nina Turner, a former Ohio state senator who is a co-chair of Sanders campaign, said in Brooklyn. But its not just about what he did in the 60s and the 80s and the 90s, it is about what he is doing right now.

On a recent visit to South Carolina, an early voting state where black voters made up about roughly 60% of the Democratic primary vote in 2016, Sanders attempted to reset his message, declaring that racial equality must be central to combating economic inequality.

On Sunday, before speaking in Chicago, he joined Clinton at the annual Martin and Coretta King unity breakfast in Selma, Alabama. New Jersey senator Cory Booker, who is also seeking the Democratic nomination for president, and Ohio senator Sherrod Brown, who is considering a run, also spoke at the event commemorating the 1965 Bloody Sunday civil rights march.

Sanders continues to face criticism for the way his speaks about race and racism and that his economic-focused message is out of step with the current political moment that seeks to elevate women and minority candidates.

In his remarks on Sunday, the senator addressed what he called the disparity within the disparity: the racial wealth gap, the higher rate of infant mortality in black communities, and bias in the criminal justice system.

He said the names of the victims of high-profile officer-involved deaths: Laquan McDonald, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Jessica Hernandez, Tamir Rice, Jonathan Ferrell, Oscar Grant and Antonio Zambrano-Montes.

People of color killed by the police who should be alive today. he said.

Elements that powered Sanders insurgent campaign in 2016 have given the him clear advantages in the crowded 2020 primary: small donors and big rallies. He has raised millions of dollars from a loyal base of supporters contributing as little as $3; his kick-off rally at Brooklyn College drew roughly 13,000 people.

Yet this race will be very different from the anti-establishment, insurgent campaign he ran in 2016. The once-unknown senator has near-universal name recognition and polling shows him near the front, and in some states leading, the field of declared and potential challengers.

Acknowledging recently that his 2016 campaign was too white and too male, Sanders has sought to build an operation that reflects the diversity of the Democratic party. His 2020 effort will be led by Faiz Shakir, the first Muslim campaign manager of a major US presidential candidate. Co-chairs include three people of color: Turner, California congressman Ro Khanna and San Juan mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz.

He has also sought to address criticism of his campaigns handling of sexual misconduct allegations in 2016 by instituting mandatory training and strict reporting guidelines.

The race for the partys nomination has already attracted more than a dozen candidates and several more big names are weighing bids, including former Vice-President Joe Biden, former Texas congressman Beto ORourke and billionaire philanthropist Michael Bloomberg. The field is dominated by women and minorities, such as Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, who have weaved their biographies into campaign narratives.

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

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