Virginia Commonwealth University students and the Richmond community came together with one goal in mind: raise awareness and show support for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
Nearly 200 supporters of all ages came out in support of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign during a march through the Monroe Park campus on Jan. 30.
“I have a seven-year-old daughter and I have been against the political system for a very long time,” said Richmond residents Ashley Carbone. “I lost hope from the moment I realized some things like the fact that politicians were bought and I’ve known this for a long time.”
Carbone said that she hopes the candidate might model our healthcare system after countries like Iceland and Norway, as she and her daughter have medical needs that aren’t being met because of their extreme expense.
“I’m not able to provide for my daughter because the system has essentially failed me, and I know I’m not alone. I’m not just fighting for my freedom or my daughter’s freedom,” she said. “I feel like I’ve been robbed from the 1 percent and I’d like my rights back.”
Sanders announced his run for the White House on May 26, 2015 in Burlington, Vermont where he resides. Sanders is a Democratic candidate serving his second term in the U.S. Senate after being re-elected with 71 percent of the vote in 2012. Formerly, he was the mayor to the largest city in Vermont for eight years.
Sanders political involvement began in the 1960s while he was only 20 when he led students to hold sit-ins in opposition of segregated off-campus housing at the University of Chicago.
Since then, Sanders has passed an amendment in the House to stop government from receiving library and book records on Americans, become chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and voted against the Keystone pipeline.
On the Bernie Sanders campaign website, Sander’s campaign platform and key issues are laid out. Health care, lowering prescription drug prices and reducing the wage gap are just three of Sander’s 21 key topics in his campaign.
Many of these issues were discussed at the March for Bernie event Jan. 30 in Monroe Park by supporters. Registered nurse Bethany Awesome also identified healthcare as a fundamental reason why she supports the campaign.
“Even as a registered nurse, I’m still nursing a broken wrist without any care,” Awesome said. “Thankfully, I am a nurse so I’m able to do what I can. (Bernie Sanders is) not going to be bought. This is a guy who has been solid for decades of not going back and forth on issues.”
#MarchForBernie events were set to take place in cities throughout the United States on Jan. 23 at noon. Unfortunately, due to winter storm Jonas, the Richmond march was pushed back until Jan. 30.
Richmond marchers started in Monroe Park, traveled down N. Belvidere and continued onto Broad St. for an hour of marching, handing out flyers and registering passersby to vote. According to event coordinator freshman Brandon Celentano, approximately five people registered to vote as a result of the march.
A Virginia Bernie 2016 field office will be opening in Richmond on Feb. 4. For the grand opening, the campaign staff is hosting an event for all Bernie supporters that day in their Richmond location located on W. Grace St. To register for the event, visit https://go.berniesanders.com/page/event/detail/volunteeractivityormeetings/42dc
Logan Bogert, Contributing writer