The Bronx Feels The Bern!

Senator Bernie Sanders delivers a riveting speech before legions of supporters during last Thursday’s ‘A Future to Believe In’ rally at St. Mary’s Park.
Photo by Silvio Pacifico

The Bronx is feelin’ the Bern!

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made his first New York appearance on the campaign trail in the south Bronx last Thursday evening.

Sanders took to the stage and addressed over 18,000 Bronxites and New Yorkers, some of whom had been awaiting his arrival in St. Mary’s Park for more than five hours.

A few Bronx elected officials attended the rally including Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda and Councilman Ritchie Torres.

Filmmaker Spike Lee and actress Rosario Dawson spoke prior to the senator’s speech.

Lee advised the mostly young crowd to talk to their parents about voting for Bernie. “The older generation – they are on this Clinton thing,” said Lee.

Rosario spent the majority of her time at the podium criticizing Hillary.

“I don’t want to vote against someone – I want to vote for a candidate,” said Dawson.

Sanders began his speech by reminding his cheering supporters of his childhood in Brooklyn, where he grew up with immigrant parents in a rent-controlled apartment.

Many people in the energized and enthusiastic crowd held up signs and creative props showing their dedication to the Sanders campaign.

One man held a homemade puppet that resembled a mini-Sanders made of papier-mâché.

Another young supporter held a sign with Sanders dressed as Robin Hood.

Groups of girls calling themselves “Bernie Babes” danced in the Woodstock-like crowd. There was no mistaking it – the Bronx was berning.

The candidate’s stump speech didn’t surprise supporters.

He stuck to his popular platforms, which addressed making higher education affordable for all, enacting universal health care, and ending corrupt Wall Street policies.

The Vermont senator made sure the crowd heard about perhaps his most prominent campaign pillar – the fact that he does not have a superpac, nor does he accept large corporate campaign donations.

Instead of cashing large corporate checks, Sanders relies on small contributions from his spirited supporters.

Sanders asked the enthusiastic crowd if they knew what the average donation was, and was answered with a resounding “twenty-seven dollars!”

The senator spoke directly to minority voters, many of whom made up the diverse crowd.

“I stand with my African American brothers and sisters,” said Sanders, in an attempt to sway the black vote, which has been largely won by Clinton, “I stand with my Latino brothers and sisters.”

The crowd was full of jazzed millennials, yet the candidate yielded the greatest applause when he dissed his opponent Hillary Clinton, who he repeatedly attacked despite early campaign promises not to give into the ugly side of politics.

Votes will be cast for the New York presidential primaries on Tuesday, April 19.

Reach Reporter Steven Goodstein at (718) 260-4599. E-mail him at sgoodstein@cnglocal.com.

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