Like thousands of people across the country, on July 29, 2015 I went to a Bernie Sanders Meet up at Teamsters Local 728 here in Atlanta. (Note: Clearly I should be camera ready just in case I decide to get up and speak some place. I had been running around all day and didn’t get a chance to get pretty lol.)
[facebook url=”https://www.facebook.com/staceyhopkinsatl/videos/10205737378126699/” /]
I was pleasantly surprised to find this video today shared by a wonderful local activist I had the chance to chat with after the meet up. Just for a little context I began by giving a shout out to Brooklyn! I almost had a Voletta Wallace moment from the 1997 MTV movie awards and shouted “Big Ups to Brooklyn.” My dad, uncle, and grandfather are all Brooklyn boys forged in the heart of the jungle. I will take a NYC politician over a Chicago one any day of the week!!! As I got serious, I shifted into talking about why as a single mother, a woman, a black person etc. that I was motivated to vote for Bernie Sanders. Well to not only vote for him, but to volunteer and work with grassroots organization committed to effectuating change on a local and national level.
Is Bernie perfect? Nope.
Is he the Messiah? Not at all.
But for me Bernie is the person who has the vision and experience to address the various intersectionalities that make up my identity. So I decided to get involved and be the change I wanted to see. I opted to start building with people at the beginning stages of this movement than sitting around complaining about who wasn’t doing what when. There will be no savior of blackness this election. Wake up call folks…there has never been a savior of blackness. Not Lincoln, Johnson, Clinton, or Obama. No one president has “saved” us. Anything and everything we have accomplished has been earned and paid for with our blood, sweat, and more blood.
I am completely aware of the criticism levied at his campaign on issues related to “people of color.” However, like many people I am not a one issue voter. Education, Healthcare, Economy, and Social Security are all issues that ABSOLUTELY matter to me. Yes we need a concerted effort to address issues of structural racism and lingering inequality affecting Black, Latino, and Native Americans. But we also need to organize and unite locally and regionally to really start changing the tide. 50 years ago beautiful legislation was enacted at the Federal level, and the last several decades have proven how difficult it has been to enforce equality legislation on the state and local level. WE NEED PEOPLE TO ORGANIZE AND STAY ORGANIZED IN THEIR COMMUNITIES.
Instead of complaining about what the campaign IS NOT DOING…I’m involved with groups who are trying to help shape the future of the nation. Groups such as the Women for Bernie Sanders and People for Bernie Sanders are trying to engage and educate people, but are also open to dialogue and feedback. Movement building (as many can attest) is not without bumps. We need to be able to provide constructive criticism/feedback while continuing to build forward moving, sustainable collaborative arrangements. Furthermore, we need to strengthen our involvement at the local level. Sure we “Get Out the Vote” when it comes to big presidential elections, but we need to be as focused on our local level politics if not even more so. The backsliding and fiscal problems we have seen across the 50 states has to do with people not being engaged and showing up in midterm elections and special elections. It has to do with people not showing up at city council or school board meetings. Yes we are all very busy, but what is an hour? Pick a meeting, any meeting and just show up. Talk to your neighbors, children, checkout clerk at the supermarket. We need to rebuild civic minded communities. Does your church or local community center have any information about local candidates? Know what policies are coming down the pipeline. In some cases public comments are accepted online or by email!! A lot of meetings are being webcast or posted online for later viewing.
Just this week, we learned that one of the corporate monsters involved in the #WVChemleak #WVWaterCrisis is getting off very easy and gets to keep all his millions. I’m sick and tired of people gaming the system. It is time that we began to take back our country. To take back our communities. To stop allowing the powers that be run over and through us. It is time we set both parties straight and let them know who they work for. Public servants are supposed to serve the public good and not their own.
You have to make a choice, are you gonna continue to warm the bench or are you going to get in the game? Things do not have to continue as they “always have been.” Our history is full of great changes started by ordinary people!