By Sequoia Barca
Please welcome Sequoia Barca and her first contribution to ClarkCountyDems.com as she shares her personal experience attending the August 9th Bernie Sanders Rally in Portland. Sequoia will be voting in her first election next year! Please share your own experience at the Bernie Sanders rally by submitting an article and pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The timing couldn’t be better. The first presidential election I can vote in will be 2016, and we have an incredible candidate whom I support wholeheartedly. I attended the Bernie Sanders rally in Portland after driving for five hours through traffic from a soccer tournament in Bend, Oregon. Never have I been so involved in national politics, but now that I am approaching voting age, the ideal candidate has come forward.
Hot summer days in Portland don't entice people to stand outside for hours in line, but 28,000 people seemed to prioritize their support for Bernie over the blazing weather. Anticipation was building as the waiting continued, because no one really knew how many people were ahead of them in line, or how many people would fit inside the Moda Center. Once inside, I could see the actually massive capacity of the venue, and it seemed impossible to me that it could ever fill up. People continued pouring in, however, armed with signs and shirts and giddy with support. Hand-made posters were hung around the room, reading #FeelTheBern and displaying his environmentally-geared logo with an evergreen tree in the center. I have never been to a political event of anywhere near this scale before, and I was struck with an invincible feeling. It’s hard to feel the threat of any competition when there are almost 20,000 cheering, screaming, stomping people surrounding you from wall to wall and floor to ceiling.
After many attempts to quiet the almost out of control crowd of supporters, the event started with three speakers. Each in turn worked the crowd with their moving words about union laborers, immigrants, farmers and climate change. Before introducing Senator Sanders to the crowd, the spokeswoman brought attention to the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, one year ago that day.
After a somber moment, the people of Portland were ready. Sen. Sanders was greeted and supported with wave after wave of cheers and applause, initially delaying his ability to address the crowd. Throughout the night, Bernie Sanders gave me chills multiple times as he addressed issues close to my heart, in powerful, promising and planned-out ways. Some politicians seem to use the term Family Values to oppress women, people of color and the gay community. Sanders explained that Family Values means to him that we are ready, as a nation, to join to the rest of the developed world in offering our employees paid maternity and sick leave. Taking care of a family’s health and well-being sounds like a solid family value to me.
It is an incredible feeling when the person behind the microphone is reiterating your exact thoughts and morals to a crowd of almost 30,000 supporters. He believes that a hugely powerful country like the United States should use its advanced technology to leave the world clean and healthy for future generations, instead of destroying it one greedy act at a time. He believes that anyone working a full-time forty hour work week should not be paid a starvation wage, but instead a living wage of fifteen dollars an hour. He believes that this country needs to take social and legal action against the physical, economic, legal and political violence that is being committed against black people in this country today.
We have found a candidate who stands for the minorities of this country. When joined together, the minority people of every social group and demographic form the strongest and most passionate population of voters. By spreading Bernie’s message and standing together as a whole, we can carry a candidate to presidency who will work for the people, instead of the billionaires.