In his most recent Boston rally, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders brought in a large crowd.
Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate, spoke to a predominantly young crowd saying; “If we stand together there is nothing we can’t accomplish and that is what we’re about.”
Sanders used an inclusive tone throughout his rally, encouraging those in attendance to take part in the reform he suggests for the country.
During the rally held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on Saturday, Oct. 3, Sanders spoke about justice system reform, gun control, wage inequality and job security, family and medical leave, student debts and climate change.
Supporters and attendees started lining up around noon for the event. Once the doors opened, chants filled the hallways with, “We feel the Bern, so good, so good, so good” and “Bern baby Bern, Bernie Sanders.”
Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, an environmental group working to fight climate change, welcomed Sanders to the stage. McKibben suggested an unlikely reason for Sanders’ popularity. “It’s possible it’s his good looks,” he said.
Once on stage, Sanders thanked everyone inside for being there, as well as the “thousands of people who are outside who were unable to get in.”
Ryan Kohl from Connecticut said he came to the rally for “a free chance to see any political figure; you can’t say no to that.”
Sanders brought up many topics during his rally.
“Every serious issue that’s been in the news he touched upon,” said Alex Zitoli from Chicago.
The Senator brought up the education system in relation to wage inequality, linking a lack of quality education to America’s “2.2 million people in jail.” Sanders said the criminal justice system is in “deep need of reform.”
Sanders said efforts leading to reform may include, “non-violent offenders do not get locked up,” “demilitarize police,” “rethink our war on drugs,” doing away with “mandatory minimum sentences” and cultivating police departments that “look like the communities they serve.”
“It makes a lot more sense to me that we invest in jobs and education than in jail and incarceration,” he said.
To a reply of cheers, Sanders also said, “Wages in America are just too damn low.”
Not all supporters were as ecstatic about his stance on the justice system, however. “I hope he will clarify the criminal justice system, because anyone can say the system is broke, but until I see a realistic solution, I’m a bit shaky on it,” Zitoli said.
Not only did Sanders discuss the inequality in education due to socioeconomic standings, but he also spoke about race relations in America and in relation to issues over the past year.
“We still have a very long way to go,” said Sanders. “What I am talking about is an institutional racism that allows unarmed African Americans to be killed by police officers.”
Sanders said that police officers in America today may be underpaid and have hours that are difficult to maintain, resulting in stressful home lives, but these difficulties do not excuse problems.
“When a police officer breaks the law, that police officer must be held accountable,” he said.
Earlier in the campaign Sanders spoke about the trending hash-tag #blacklivesmatter in conjunction with the #alllivesmatter hash-tag.
Jin Chang, from Minnesota, was following the campaign at the time and disagreed with the statements Sanders made about the issue. “He sometimes says things that are wrong, but he apologizes about it,” said Chang.
Sanders also touched upon the shooting in Oregon that occurred in early October. Solemn clapping was the response to Sanders saying, “Our hearts go out to the people of Oregon and what they have experienced in the past couple of days.”
As a result, Sanders said America needs to “end the sale and distribution of semi-automatic weapons whose only job is to kill.”
Along with gun control, mental health is often a hot-button topic. Sanders made this connection as well.
“We need a revolution in terms of mental health in this country,” he said.
“People who are in crisis should not have to wait weeks or months for care. They should get it now,” said Sanders.
Sanders concluded by asking the crowd for a “big favor.”
Sanders asked the crowd to envision a nation where, no matter their differences all may envision the “full promise of equality that is our birthright as Americans.”