Bernie’s Back

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By Sumana Ali

Bernie Sanders proclaimed, “I am back” at a recent rally in Queens. Despite having a heart attack at age 78, Sanders attracted over 20,000 people to a rally on October 21. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, filmmaker Michael Moore and former candidate for Queens District Attorney Tiffany Cabán were in attendance. Speakers offered passionate support for Sanders and emphasized the importance of unity in between witty political jabs.

Ocasio-Cortez gave a passionate speech just before Bernie came on stage. “No one wanted to question the system, and in 2016, he fundamentally changed politics in America,” she said. New Yorkers joined friends and families on the cold Saturday morning in Queensbridge Park to show their support for the presidential candidate.

The crowd cheered as Sanders walked up on stage to AC/DC’s “Back in Black.” Many shouted  “Feel the Bern” and “Bernie is Back.” Sanders looked happy and healthy as he walked on stage to energetic music and loud cheers. “I am happy to report to you that I am more than ready, more ready than ever, to carry on with you the epic struggle that we face today,” he said. Sanders seemed adamant to show his resilience during his first rally since his heart attack two and a half weeks ago.

Groups of students from Macaulay Honors College and John Jay held up Bernie signs and posted pictures on social media. “I could have done anything today, but I decided to be here for someone I believe in because that’s something we all need to do right now…we need to unite and believe that we can make a change,” said Aaron, a college student, 20.

Former candidate for district attorney of Queens Tiffany Cabán spoke to supporters. Cabán was heavily supported by AOC and other progressive leaders during her candidacy.

Many supporters had waited for hours to see Sanders. Others traveled hours to attend. Because of the overwhelming turnout, rally organizers had to shut the doors to some supporters because there was not enough space. The Sanders campaign reported that it exceeded the 20,000 person permit it had received. Yet, even with the overflowing crowd in the park, the vibe was friendly and kind. Campaign co-chair for Sanders, Nina Turner, spoke to groups of people, especially young people, as she took selfies and Instagram live videos. As the presidential election is closing in, Bernie Sanders may yet still be the front runner of the Democratic Party.

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