Published on January 29, 2020
By Steve Ahlquist
Video from the Rhode Island Students for Bernie Kickoff Rally
“We believe, as progressives, that another world is not only possible, but actually within our reach,” said Jennifer Epps-Addison, Executive Director of the Center for Popular Democracy. “We are driven to speak up, act out, and to fight like hell because people are suffering…“
The historic Columbus Theatre was the site of a second rally for the Bernie Sanders campaign here in Rhode Island on Tuesday evening, this time aimed specifically at the students and youth. The event drew over 200 people.
Keynote speeches were delivered by Jennifer Epps-Addison, Executive Director of the Center for Popular Democracy, a national activist group that has officially endorsed Sanders for President, and Linda Sarsour, founder and director of the Arab American Association of NY, as well as a Bernie 2020 National Surrogate.
Local activists also spoke, and all the video from all the speakers is available here:
The event opened with Jack Doughty, a Brown University for Bernie Organizer:
“I’m going to fight to get Bernie elected,” said Evan Travis, a 15-year old member of Sunrise South County and student at the East Bay Met High School in Newport. “But there’s one problem: I can’t vote. And it’s an absolutely horrible feeling, to feel that you can’t stand up for your future in a way that matters.”
With Bernie as President said Rachael Baker, a CCRI student and organizer with Sunrise Providence. “We can say something like, ‘Sorry, you can’t have your hot tub bedazzled this year, but maybe my friend won’t go bankrupt after he has to pay his medical bills…”
“Bernie redefined for me what was indeed possible and caused me to question the conventional wisdom that I had internalized,” said Kinverly Dicupe an activist with the Providence Democratic Socialists of America.
“We believe, as progressives, that another world is not only possible, but actually within our reach,” said Jennifer Epps-Addison, Executive Director of the Center for Popular Democracy. “We are driven to speak up, act out, and to fight like hell because people are suffering…”
“When I was 16-years old, my mother died of cancer. It was preventable. We could have saved her. But we didn’t have the money,” said James Callow said CCRI student and member of the Bernie 2020 Campaign staff. “We had a house though. And I found out later that my mother had to grapple with the decision: Do I let this cancer take me, and leave a roof over my son’s head, or do i sell our house, our only thing in the world, and hope that I’ll have a fighting chance?”
Alex Gourevitch, Brown University Assistant Professor of Political Science, encouraged those in attendance to sign up to canvas in New Hampshire.
“Bernie is an inspiration for trans people, for working families, for women, for people of color, immigrants and refugees, oppressed people everywhere,” said Isaiah Tobias-Lee, a student at Providence College and Sunrise Providence organizer. “Because all of our lives we’ve had to get surgeries and work 60 hours a week and have flawless appearance and have straight hair and light skin and speak perfect English and do whatever we can to prove to our oppressors that we deserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, when they had to do nothing in return…”
Ben Bienstock a Brown University student involved in Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) introduced the second keynote speaker Linda Sarsour:
“I have a very radical politics,” said Linda Sarsour, founder and director of the Arab American Association of NY and Bernie 2020 National Surrogate. “But what I want to make sure everyone’s clear about is that nothing, in fact, that Bernie Sanders is fighting for, is radical.
“There’s nothing radical about believing that everybody deserves healthcare.
“There’s nothing radical about believing that every child in America deserves access to high quality public education regardless of the zip code that they live in.
“There’s nothing radical about believing that child in America in the public schools should have universal meals, free meals…
“There’s nothing radical about believing that every working American should have a minimum… $15 minimum wage, that no one in America should have to work two and three and four jobs just to support their families…
“There’s nothing radical about believing that LGBTQ people should be able to walk in any space and be in any space and feel safe and secure…
“There’s nothing radical about believing that the land that was built on religious freedom also applies to Muslims… It’s called the Constitution.
“There’s nothing radical about saying that Black Lives Matter…
“We all have the potential to be radical, but this is not a radical movement…”
Alex Gourevitch returned to the stage to make a final pitch for volunteers to canvass New Hampshire.
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