Bernie Sanders Cedes the Stage To Activists Fighting For Black Lives

An estimated 3,000 people gathered in Westlake Park on Saturday, August 8th, to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Social Security and the 50th anniversary of Medicare. Speakers included the president of the Seattle chapter of the NAACP Gerald Hankerson, Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, Congressional Representative Adam Smith, WA State Senator Pramila Jayapal, and Vermont Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

As Bernie Sanders took the stage, two activists proceeded to also take the stage. After confronting Bernie Sanders and the organizers, the activists were given the microphone and allowed to speak. The two women, affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement in Seattle, called for four and a half minutes of silence to reflect on the death of Michael Brown, on the eve of the one year anniversary of his death. Boo’s and jeers rained down on the activists for interrupting Bernie Sanders while some in the crowd could be heard shouting “let her speak!”. As the crowd continued shouting, the activists replied they would shut the event down if they were not heard. The activists welcomed Sanders to Seattle and explained the issues they were fighting for. At the end of the moment of silence, the microphone was handed to Bernie Sanders, but he handed it back to the organizers and refused to speak. Sanders then left the stage and entered the crowd to shake hands. Sanders spoke at an election event that drew 12,000+ at the University of Washington later that evening.

The Bernie Sanders website was adjusted in the early hours of August 9th to reflect his stance on the issue of racial justice. The addition can be found here…https://berniesanders.com/issues/racial-justice/

Additional articles from women of color can be found here…

http://seattleglobalist.com/2015/08/09/bernie-sanders-black-lives-matter-race-divide-in-seattle/40394

and here…

http://www.thestranger.com/blogs/slog/2015/08/09/22671957/guest-editorial-why-saturdays-bernie-sanders-rally-left-me-feeling-heartbroken

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