It’s been well documented that Sen. Bernie Sanders has had a bit of an issue as of late with some members of the Black Lives Matter movement. Unlike the typical politician, Sanders has confronted the issue head on and his campaign is looking better off because of it.
The first time it happened was at Netroots Nation in July. While Sanders was attempting to speak to the crowd, he was interrupted by Black Lives Matter. It happened again on August 8 during a rally in Seattle, as two members of the movement stormed the stage and chased off the Independent senator from Vermont. While there has been debate over whether or not it was appropriate timing, or the appropriate candidate to target, the Black Lives Matter movement got the attention they sought. Before a stop at the Iowa State Fair on August 15, the Sanders’ campaign released an e-mail clarifying their stance their candidate’s civil rights policy moving forward.
“We are hoping to establish a REAL space for REAL dialog,” the e-mail wrote, and that is what it appears Sanders is doing, and has done for decades. Despite some push back, Sanders has found support among African Americans from all walks of life. New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker is a supporter of Sanders, saying “Bernie has become somebody I have tremendous respect for,” noting “he has a long record of civil rights.” Former Hillary Clinton supporter, rapper Lil B, has come out to now endorse Sanders. “I mean, if he was marching for civil rights back then, he was protesting against segregation,” the rapper said during a recent interview with CNN, “all the youth, the black youth, should be able to hear him out.”
It’s not just African Americans outside the campaign that have come out for Sanders, but within as well. Earlier this month, Sanders appointed an African American women as his national press secretary. Symone Sanders, a 25-year-old Black Lives Matter activist, has been brought on board to continue the Sanders’ push to the Democratic nomination. In addition to Symone Sanders, an African American named Marcus Ferrell had already been on the campaign team as the senator’s Southeastern political director.
Sanders’ history of fighting for civil rights dates back over 40 years, when the senator was in attendance during Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. While he might have run into a momentary issue with a few members of the Black Lives Matter movement, it appears Sanders has refocused his campaign by highlighting what he has been doing for four decades; fighting for the people.