A passionate discussion revolving around social unrest and the possibility of a political revolution dominated the lecture hall in the basement of The Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House Feb 11.
Terps for Bernie hosted the event for those who were still on the fence about voting for the senator from Vermont.
“As a non-established candidate, he’s working for the people and against the corporations who many other candidates are swayed and influenced by,” said Mandy Stussman, a sophomore sociology major and the director of recruitment and retention.
Topics of discussion included LGBTQA+ rights, the prison system, education and police reform. The room really heated up when the conversation turned to women’s rights, feminism and health care. Members of Terps for Bernie took the podium to cover each of these topics before answering faqs and then turning the floor over to the audience for questions.
“This is one of the only chances we might have in our lifetime to fundamentally change the system from the inside,” said JT Stanley, a senior individual studies major and the former president of Terps for Bernie. “We need to take the most radical action we can. That’s not possible with the current system. Bernie Sanders can do that.”
Many spoke of Sander’s consistency and stagnant stances on racial equality, LGBTQA+ rights, women’s rights and foreign policy for the past 50 years. This was compared to Hillary Clinton’s ever evolving stances of the same topics.
“It’s good to have a candidate who has always believed in [these things],” said Sedef Berk, a freshman GVPT and sociology double major and a member of Terps for Bernie. “It’s a consistency thing. It’s a humanities thing.”
The tension peaked when an audience member highlighted Gloria Steinmen’s comments made earlier this week.
“Her comments take away the agency of young women and imply that women can’t make decisions for themselves,” said Faye Barrett, a member of Terps for Bernie. “[The comments are] minimizing Clinton to her gender – ‘Vote for her because she’s a woman not her issues.’ As a feminist, I don’t minimize other women to their gender.”
The room, which held about 35 students, sat in silence as president Christopher Walkup, who worked with Sanders in the Iowa Caucus, gave a perfervid discourse on health care and the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
“When I talk to people who say ‘I agree with what Bernie stands for but I don’t know if he can win,’ to me that says that people in this country feel alone,” he said, apologizing for the volume of his voice. “It shouldn’t be revolutionary to say black lives matter. It shouldn’t be revolutionary to raise the minimum wage.”
The event provided free pizza and Bernie Sander stickers and was followed by a debate watch party in Queen Anne’s Hall. There will be weekly phone banking and general body meetings, which anyone can attend and participate in.
Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of Flickr user Phil Roeder.
Katie Ebel is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.