Over 13,000 people turned out for Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign kickoff rally at Brooklyn College in Flatbush on Saturday, and despite the cold weather and lingering snow, it was clear the crowd was feeling the Bern.
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I grew up in Brooklyn, in a three-and-a-half room rent controlled apartment on E. 26th St. in Midwood. My father was a paint salesman who worked hard his entire life, but never made much money, and my mother raised my brother, Larry, and I. My mother’s dream was to someday move out of that rent-controlled apartment to a home of our own—a dream that wasn’t fulfilled before she died. Tomorrow, we kick off our presidential campaign not far from there, at Brooklyn College, where I studied for a year. As a kid I learned, in many, many ways, what lack of money means to a family. That’s a lesson I have never forgotten. I have seen the promise of America in my own life. My parents would have never dreamed that their son would be a U.S. Senator, let alone run for president. For too many of our fellow Americans, the dream of progress and opportunity is being denied by an economy that funnels all the wealth to the top. That’s why this campaign is about not just me. It’s about us. It’s about creating a movement of millions of people standing up to demand an economy and a government that works for all of us, not just a few on top. If you’re able to, join us in Brooklyn tomorrow (details in bio). If you’re not, I hope you’ll follow along online and help us launch this historic movement. With your help, we’re going to win this election because we will put together the strongest grassroots coalition in the history of American politics. I can’t do it without you.
Sanders highlighted his Brooklyn roots, where he lived in a three-and-a-half room, rent-controlled apartment on E. 26th St. in Midwood and attended James Madison High School and Brooklyn College for one year prior to transferring to the University Chicago.
His wife, Jane Sanders, warmed up the audience before Bernie spoke, also touching on the fact that their Vermont romance traces back to their Brooklyn identity as Mrs. Sanders is also a Brooklynite by birth.
Senator Nina Turner and activist/journalist Shaun King followed speaking on Bernie’s history of standing up for human rights and getting arrested during the Civil Rights movement, something Sanders has not publicly talked about much.
3. For his entire life, @BernieSanders has flat out refused to explain the powerful stories behind these images.
It’s so deep. His mother and father had each just passed away. Both were young. All alone in the world, Bernie threw his entire life into the Civil Rights Movement. pic.twitter.com/vpcmDibxfJ
— Shaun King (@shaunking) March 3, 2019
Bernie’s 45-minute speech was a rebuke of the current circus of presidential affairs and a view to what could be the most progressive White House since Jimmy Carter come 2020, when campaign issues such as Medicare for all, the end of mass incarceration, and a Green New Deal could put millions of Americans back to work modernizing the country’s infrastructure.
After his speech, Sanders and his wife did what every other Brooklynite might do, they took a stroll through Prospect Park.
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