On Monday night at the historical Fox Theatre in Midtown, thousands of people wrapped around the building anxiously waiting for the hopeful presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, to arrive. Upon stepping off Marta, one of the most striking things to see was the amount of young people who were all gathered together to hear this man speak. Not only young people, but all walks of life were there. Minorities of race, gender, sexuality, religion and more, all came together to be empowered by the voice of one man. Energy was high as the doors opened and the masses flooded into their seats. For the two hours before Sanders came on stage, people proudly waved their posters and signs, cheering and rooting for the candidate.
Introducing Sanders onto stage was none other than the rapper, Killer Mike. His speech was powerful and true, resonating with so many people in the crowd. He began with, “I am from Atlanta, Georgia, and I say that proudly,” he continued onto saying, “I’m not here to talk about a dream that we think is unattainable so we settle for less, I’m talking about…. a revolutionary.” And that’s the truth behind Bernie Sanders: he is the voice of a suppressed generation that’s fed up with the state of America. Killer Mike emphasized this point by exclaiming, “While I’m here, I have to tell you in my heart of hearts, that Bernie Sanders is truly the right man to lead this country.” Followed by applause and several ‘Bernie, Bernie!’ chants, the man of the night finally arrived on stage. He opened with saying, “Hello Atlanta! You know, we’ve had a lot of events in the south but never with a turnout like this, thank you!”
During his 60 minute speech, Sanders covered all topics ranging from income equality, to health care, marijuana legalization, prison reform, gay marriage and more. He starts with educating the crowd on the absurd income inequality in America, and with the crowd echoing “BOOOOOO” every time he talked about the billionaires, it was clear to tell that the people of America have had enough of this unfair wealth distribution. He encouraged the people by saying, “When we come together, and we say loudly and clearly enough is enough than this great country and our government [will] belong to all of us, not just a handful of billionaires.”
Sanders went on to speak with conviction about raising the minimum wage. He reminded everyone that, “it is not a radical idea, is not a left wing extremist idea, to say that if somebody works 40 hours a week that person should not be living in poverty,” and went on, “And I hope that every man in this room tonight will stand with the women for pay equity for women workers.” Which was followed by another uproar of ‘Bernie’ chants.
Furthermore, Sanders points out the flaws in our criminal justice system. He states that, “We have 2.2 million people in jail, disproportionately black and hispanic… we spend 80 billion dollars a year locking up people.” He suggests instead, “Education and jobs rather than jails and incarceration.” Sanders went onto promise that if elected, “…by the end of my first term we will not have more people in jail than in any other country… [and] we will have our young people at work or in school, not rotting behind jail cells!”
Another hot topic issue Sanders touched on is education. This is one of the most important issues that could forever impact the lives of many young students. Sanders states that, “It makes no sense to me that today we have hundreds of thousands of bright and qualified young people who are unable to go to college for one reason alone, and that is their families lack of money,” He promised reform if elected. He stated that, “I have introduced legislation… that does two things. First, it will make every public college and university tuition free,” Not only would that be a major victory for the students in America, but he went on to promise, “The other thing this legislation does is deal with a major crisis impacting millions of people who have student debt. It makes no sense to me that people with student debt are paying interest rates on their loans at six to even eight percent, when they can refinance their home at three or four percent, and that’s what we’re going to allow them to do.” If elected, this could be a huge victory for college students.
Not only is Sanders for equality for all people as it regards income, criminal justice, health care and more, he also takes a bold stance against the way the political system is ran. He believes that Super Pacs (which fund almost all political candidates campaigns) are the way in which government sells itself to the largest financial institutions in the world. Bernie refuses to accept a Super Pac. And that is the incredible thing about his campaign: it’s 100% paid for by him and his supporters. “My campaign does not represent the interests of the largest corporations and the wealthiest people… this is a people’s campaign!”
A people’s campaign seems to be exactly what America has been calling for. As Killer Mike said proudly to the crowd, “I know I’m preaching to the choir tonight, but I am here to tell you to stay encouraged. Stay invigorated. Stay confronting bullshit at every turn. And make sure wherever you go you take the name, the ideas, the philosophy, and the ideology of Bernie Sanders and make sure when you leave they are on fire because they have felt the Bern!”