A Letter to the Senator

“Why do you support Bernie Sanders?”

“There are women running, you should support them!”

“There are people of color running, why are you supporting an old white man?”

 

Since 2016, I have been asked these questions innumerable times. They’re valid, they hold truth, and as a woman of color, I recognize why people ask me that.

Why would a young woman of color support a 78 year old white man?

To me, Bernie Sanders presents a dream, one that my, and every other story fits into. Stories of immigration, poverty, marginalization all fit into the American Dream that he pushes forward as a “political agenda.”

 Senator Sanders brought forward a concept of an America in which the color of my skin did not mean I  could not succeed, he brought forward an idea often forgotten by political actors in the federal government: the everyday person mattered.

Flash forward to 2016, I, alongside so many others, lived in fear. On a weekly basis news stories broke about targeted hate crimes on marginalized communities. Each day I feared that one of those stories would end up being someone I was close to: a brown body being persecuted for the color of their skin. The next four years would be no different, black and brown bodies’ livelihoods were on the line. They still are on the line. Resilience or not, to live your life in fear is to be utterly shunned of freedom. I lived afraid of what this president would do to people who didn’t fit his standard of American. I lived in every moment hoping, waiting for the resurgence of democracy in 2020.

On February 19th, 2019, that resurgence came.

“My name is Bernie Sanders, and I am running for President.”

Videos of young black and brown supporters flooded my vision, all with one goal in mind: to elect this 78 year old white man into the oval office. Tears ran down my face as I laughed with something; call it relief.  I felt ready to be unafraid again, I felt ready to make the change, and I knew there was at least one person in the race for the Presidency that would help me.

I will not say that I have committed and stand alongside every single thing Senator Sanders has done or said. I will not align myself blindly to someone. The 2020 race brought with it the most diverse field of candidates in history. I looked toward the brown women, toward the minority candidates, found solace in their speeches and resolutions. Yet, I found myself gravitating back to one concept: revolution.

Bernie and his supporters endured consistent pushback for this idea of a revolution. News outlets, Republicans, even other Democratic candidates convoluted this idea of a revolution to be aggressive, angry, even narrow minded, attributing those feelings to negativity. Yet, the notion of  a “revolution” almost lent itself to what the Senator was pushing for.

Deeply rooted systemic social change does not occur without aggressive pushes to do better.

Deeply rooted systemic social change does not occur unless you are angry enough to change something.

Deeply rooted systemic social change is only narrow minded to those for which the system has been working. 

Revolutions are what create social change, and Bernie Sanders is living proof of what can be done.

I feel lost and confused as to what to do. It is silly to put all of your political eggs in one basket, but when you believe in a hope as beautiful as a revolution of millions just like you, that basket sounds desperately enticing.

There is living proof of what Senator Sanders has done to the Democratic Party. So many young brown women are rising up and realizing that they too can take on the reigns of leadership and evoke social change. They believe in a more diverse and better represented government, not in a few years, but today. Many of them attribute their new confidence to the senator.

I am so proud to have been a zealous advocate for Senator Sanders since 2016. He allowed me to understand the truth behind allyship and recognize that just because I am a woman does not mean I must back the female candidate, just because I am brown does not mean I should feel guilty for not backing the minority candidate.

I am honored to have followed the leadership of a candidate that wanted to make sure I had a trail blazed before I got there. A candidate that wanted to know in his heart he did everything he could for millions he did not know.

“It is impossible until it is done.”

The struggle continues.