On what would otherwise be a normal Tuesday morning, the USC campus was flooded with security guards and secret service members. They surrounded most of Russell House, in preparations for the visiting of Bernie Sanders on February 16, 2016 as part of his presidential campaign to reach out to young voters.
Hundreds of students lined up as early as nearly two hours before the event at 11:30am. The line moved slowly, as students had to go through present their Carolina Card, go through bag check, and metal detectors to ensure the event would occur without a problem.
The lucky first few hundred students got to hear Bernie speak from inside the Russell House Theater. The rest got to see him in the overflow area outside the theater. He briefly interacted with the students in the overflow room before coming to speak in the theater. He was introduced by Erica Garner, daughter of Eric Garner who passed away due to police brutality. She announced her support of Sanders due to his desire to change the justice system in America today.
Finally, Bernie appeared and was accompanied by enthusiastic cheers. He began with an encouraging message intended to empower college students to vote if they want to see change happen. With speaking to the students directly he said that “you will determine the future of this country.” He then argued his point that the minimum wage must be raised to a living wage since many people must work several jobs in order to have enough money to live off of. He also touched on the necessity to improve the child care system, fix the wage gap between men and women, and the necessity to take marijuana off the federal substance act, which ranks marijuana next to heroine. He also focused on the need to make the opportunity to go to college equal to all by making it tuition free. Lastly, he pointed out the desperate need to change the justice system in America. He plans to fight for fairness in the justice system, including for police officers and those with political positions.
Overall, his speech got students engaged in political issues in today’s society and got them interested in his campaign.