Despite the anger some Bernie Sanders supporters feel at the Democratic Party’s seeming collusion against the Vermont senator, the mood at the Black Men for Bernie action today (July 27) was largely celebratory.
A crowd of hundreds held signs supporting Sanders (as well as the Green Party and its presumptive presidential nominee Jill Stein) and the various causes uplifted by his campaign, economic inequality, police brutality and corporate political power among them. The stage at Thomas Paine Plaza, which sits in the shadow of Philadelphia City Hall, featured a number of speakers and performers.
Despite the organizing group’s name, the multiethnic crowd skewed White. Jose Zhagnay, a Latino New York native who is working with Black Men for Bernie to launch a Latino-focused group, said he hopes to make a connection between Black and Brown communities that are impacted by the structural issues that grounded Sanders’ campaign against Hillary Clinton. "We wanted to do a ‘Day for Bernie’ event to say thanks to [him] and make sure the people still know the revolution’s going to continue," he said. Like many of the Sanders supporters of color we interviewed earlier this week, he believes Sanders’ message will outlast this particular election season. "The issues still remain the same."
Jeremy Davis, a young Black man from Texas working with Black Men for Bernie’s youth group, said the event is meant to show appreciation to Sanders. "When you look past color and class, you realize that we’re all fighting for the same issues," he said about the action’s multiracial crowd. Indeed, the rally made space for people who subscribe to political philosophies other than the organizer’s progressive ones. Speaking on the presence of several White men who were booing speakers and carrying anti-abortion signs, Davis said, "It’s America, everybody has their opinons."
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Bruce Carter founded Black Men for Bernie to get young Black men involved in politics. The group traveled around the country by bus to register new voters and spread a message of voter enrichment and political change.
Hillary Clinton offically nabbed the nomination during the delegate roll call at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) last night (July 26). While Sanders urged his supporters to stand by Clinton in the general election this November, this rally and others like it demonstrate some Sanders supporters’ willingness to vote for third party candidates like Stein.