Opinion & Editorial / Politics

Bernie Sanders is the true hope for blacks

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speaks during a rally in Norfolk, Va., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speaks during a rally in Norfolk, Va., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

An editorial by Mahogany Waldon

He isn’t doing the Whip or the Nae Nae with Ellen Degeneres and he isn’t trying to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. No, these are tactics that his opponents Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are popularizing on, but his approach is more genuine and heartfelt.

Bernie Sanders is tackling and addressing issues that widely affect the black community and he isn’t exploiting those in the community to do so. Some major issues that Sanders supports are criminal justice and health care reform, tax increases on the rich, background checks to lower gun violence, and a renewed focus on jobs and the economy working for those at the bottom of nationwide pay scales, all of which are issues that affect the black Community.

So what if Black Lives Matter activists booed him in Seattle over the summer? Sanders’ campaign is still one of the top campaigns that addresses issues that the Black Lives Matter movement wants rectified. In fact, Bernie Sanders is the only presidential candidate that was also a Civil Rights activist. Last week, the Chicago Tribune published a photo of a young Bernie Sanders being arrested during a march sometime during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Bernie was there, despite who saw him there or not (Congressman Elijah Cummings recently made a statement to MSNBC that he didn’t recall seeing Sanders during the movement) and it is the same drive that he had all those years ago that we need today.

While it may seem that Hillary Clinton is receiving more support from black voters, she recently garnered support from the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and other victims of police and gun violence, Bernie is still carrying his weight…especially with the younger generation. Frankly, many of us are fed up with the Clintons. Despite many dubbing Bill Clinton the “First Black President,” his administration’s 1994 crime law actually worsened the criminal justice system for black men.

According to CNN reporter Dan Merica, “The omnibus crime bill that Clinton signed included the federal ‘three strikes’ provision, mandating life sentences for criminals convicted of a violent felony after two or more prior convictions, including drug crimes.”

Sanders, who visited the Norfolk Scope on Tuesday, Feb. 23, has appealed to young black voters and has utilized HBCUs to get his issues heard. Bernie’s HBCU tour has gained supporters from South Carolina State University, Jackson State University and, more recently, Virginia State University.

There is a long fight that is still ahead for the black community. Super Tuesday will prove which rising star will shine for those of us who still have our hearts and minds set on change.