During campaigning season, we as black voters must constantly ask ourselves “Will this candidate actually fight to protect people like me like they say they will, or are they just luring me in with empty promises in order to gain my vote?” When searching for this answer, it’s useful to look not only at a candidate’s official plans but also their past work that either uplifted or oppressed our people.
When looking at past records, Bernie Sanders is arguably the best candidate to fight against racial injustice. He has a strong history with civil rights — he marched in the historic March on Washington and fought for the desegregation of public schools. However, one’s record for fighting for racial justice in the past is not an official promise that they will commit to fighting for the same cause with as much gusto in the future. Furthermore, Bernie has recently received some heat for not addressing racial injustice well enough during his campaign considering both his past work for civil rights and the country’s current racial issues that demand immediate attention.
Bernie heard this criticism loud and clear, and throughout the past week has made some adjustments to his campaign platform. Check out what Bernie is doing to address racial inequality and to earn the black vote.
1. BERNIE HIRED SYMONE SANDERS, A FEMALE BLACK RACIAL JUSTICE ADVOCATE, AS HIS PRESS SECRETARY
25-year-old Symone Sanders has a lot of experience under her belt. Before working as Bernie’s press secretary, Symone Sanders worked as a communications officer with Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen, an organization that aims to make sure all American citizens are represented in the government. Symone is also currently serving as the National Youth Chair of the Campaign for Juvenile Justice, an organization that aims to improve the treatment of juveniles in the criminal justice system. She is involved in the #BlackLivesMatter movement and is working with Bernie to address race both in his campaign and in his policy proposals. In fact, Symone is using her knowledge of the criminal justice system by helping Bernie formulate a criminal justice reform policy proposal.
2. BERNIE HAS A NEW RACIAL JUSTICE PLATFORM ON HIS CAMPAIGN SITE
Last week, Bernie updated his campaign site to include a racial justice platform. In it, Bernie addresses racial inequality in its various forms, including physical violence perpetuated both by the state and extremists, political disenfranchisement, and legal violence and economic inequality.
Read His Platform Here: Bernie on Racial Justice
3. BERNIE IS ADDRESSING RACE IN HIS PUBLIC SPEECHES
Most likely due to Symone Sanders’ assistance, Bernie is talking about race on his campaign trail. During his rally in Portland, Bernie addressed race issues in front of more than 20,000 people, his largest crowd to date.
Watch His Full Speech: Bernie Sanders’ Portland Rally Speech
So what do you think… is Bernie Sanders doing enough to earn the black vote? What do you hope to see from the presidential candidates?
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