A crowd of nearly 1,000 people gathered at the Boston Common Saturday afternoon to support Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders before Tuesday’s presidential primary election in Massachusetts. Assembling on the steps facing the Massachusetts State House, the crowd listened to speakers before marching through the Financial District to Dewey Square.
The rally, hosted by #Movement4Bernie and March For Bernie, was the most recent of several organized as a prelude to the Massachusetts primary. Elan Axelbank, the organizer of Movement4Bernie, explained the creation of the organization.
“#Movement4Bernie was launched back in December,” Axelbank said. “It was launched when the Democratic National Committee … tried to take Bernie Sanders’ access to voter registration data away. Bernie Sanders is a threat to the status quo, he’s a threat to politics as usual and he’s a threat to the political establishment. The biggest threat to the status quo is a revolution, and that’s what Bernie Sanders talks about.”
Donna Kelly-Williams, president of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, spoke to crowd about how Sanders’ support of universal Medicare shouldn’t be taken lightly.
“Nurses are the most trusted profession in our country, and we trust Bernie Sanders,” Kelly-Williams said. “Sen. Sanders has said that health care is a fundamental human right. There isn’t any compromise on this. Nurses have known for a long time and are incredibly proud that we have a candidate for president who shares this value. We can’t allow our children’s health and welfare to be comprised.”
Scott Hoffman, president of American Postal Workers Union Local 100, told the crowd that Sanders’ support for the working and middle classes is vital to protect individuals from corporate greed.
“Today we are here as the working class, the middle class, union brothers and sisters, to support Bernie,” Hoffman said. “Bernie is the only candidate committed to addressing the root causes of politics controlled by corporate greed. The corporate controls strangle hold on our lives. He’s … not for a select few who have amassed their fortunes and influence on the back of working people.”
Rodolfo Ostillia, an immigrant from the Canary Islands, said that while he can’t vote, he supports Sanders.
“I can’t vote, but that doesn’t stop me from organizing,” Ostillia said. “Here, I see all the injustice, and even being an immigrant doesn’t stop you from feeling the pain of all the people in this country. The Democratic Party is part of this structure that doesn’t allow for change, and that’s why they aren’t allowing for Bernie to actually win the elections.”
Chants of “Feel the Bern” and “Bernie Sanders not for sale” were heard throughout the streets as the marchers made their way to Dewey Square.
Richard Goldberg, a retired schoolteacher and director of education at the Asian American Civic Association, spoke to the crowd about how schools need reform and Bernie Sanders.
“I’m here to tell you that schoolteachers need Bernie Sanders,” Goldberg said. “We’ve got a real gap between the rich and the rest of us. Schools are funded by property tax, and that is unequal. We can solve the problem of education when we solve the wealth gap.”
Several attendees said Sanders has and will continue to represent everyday U.S. citizens.
Alex Crowley, a senior at Wentworth Institute of Technology, said he supports Sanders because he has remained constant in his values for decades.
“I just believe [Sanders is] so trustworthy,” he said. “I believe in the actions of the people. Actions show. He fought for civil rights. Throughout history, he’s always been on the right side.”
Gina Ludovici, 27, of West Roxbury, said she is attracted to Sanders’ genuine authenticity.
“I’m for Bernie [Sanders] because he’s the only politician who wants to put empathy back into the system,” she said. “He’s the only human in the [presidential] race.”
Paul Beaulieu, 28, of South Boston, said Sanders’ impact on the political world would be felt regardless of if he wins the Democratic nomination or not.
“Even if [Sanders] doesn’t get elected, he’s putting this out and brought [Democratic socialism] into vision for the rest of America to see that it’s the banks running the country,” he said. “It’s not the people, it’s not even the government running this country. It’s the banks.”