Bernie is visiting California for a series of political rallies to build support for his campaign and several progressive policies.
As he addresses tens of thousands of people across the country, Bernie has let them know that he needs their support beyond the election. If we hope to be successful in implementing these progressive policies he’s let these rallies know that he needs our support through the election and beyond it.
Part of his schedule included visiting the Islamic Center of Southern California to show solidarity with Muslim communities that have been the target of hate. The visit is remarkable for the comments below where Bernie talks about his own family’s background and how he sees his story woven into our country’s and our world’s common humanity.
The two minute clip below is particularly moving.
I’ve transcribed Bernie’s entire address. Any errors are mine…
Let me do something that I have been criticized for not doing as a politician, and be a little bit personal. I don’t like talking about myself, I much prefer talking about ideas and vision that we need. Given the moment that we’re in and the tragedy in New Zealand, let me say a few words about myself. There were two forces that I think shaped my political views.
One, that I grew up in a family that did not have a lot of money, and the pressure of not having money on my family. I think the same kind of pressure exists on millions of families in this country, and people in this room right now. Mothers and fathers about providing for the kids, arguments about if you spend money on this and spend money on that. Kind of causing tension in the house. And also as a young person, seeing that there were other families that had a whole lot. One of the dreams that my mother had as we grew up in a 3 and a half room rent-controlled apartment in Brooklyn. What she wanted, as I think many people in America. She wanted a home of her own, not to live in a rented apartment. And she died young of heart [disease] and she never achieved her dream. And so she never had that home of her own. So growing up in a family that struggled economically certainly shaped my views about politics and where we want to be going as a country
But, the second part of my life that shaped my views is being Jewish. And crying when I would read books about the Holocaust, these picture books about what happened at Auschwitz and the other concentration camps, and tears would stream down my eyes. And it occurred to me, I never could understand why people would do such terrible and horrible things to people.
And then you got a little bit older and you study history, you study our own country and what happened to the Native American people, the terrible things that happened to them. We study about the abomination of slavery, and segregation and racism that our African-American brothers and sisters experienced.
We study about the fact of the prejudice against the Irish and Italians in this country, Against so many Asian people here in the west coast, many of you should be familiar with the Asian Expulsion (Exclusion) Act. The terrible prejudice against our Asian brothers and sisters.
And after all of that suffering after all of our horrible 20th century which has seen a number of genocides. One might have hoped and believed that maybe, just maybe the world would understand that we share a common humanity.
The entire program is below. Bernie’s comments begin at 54 minutes.
Bernie went on to tie his own hopes, dreams and aspirations to everyone in the room, and our country, and our world. He starts off by pointing out how ridiculous hatred based on religion and racism is, and what is really important.
Now who really stays up at night worrying that the color of your skin is darker than mine. Who worries that your religion is different than mine. Every person in this room, and I’ve got four kids and seven beautiful grand-children. Every person in this room, wants their children to have good health. Every parent worries about what happens if your child becomes sick. Every person in this room wants our kids to have a quality education, to grow up to be as wonderful and as smart as they can be. Every person in this room wants our kids to be able to drink clean water and breathe clean air and not to see this planet destroyed by climate change.
Every person in this world holds that belief, that hope for their children. I was thinking so hard about what I could say about that tragedy in New Zealand and I wish I could tell you something profound, I just can’t. The only that I perhaps can say, that out of that horrible tragedy, where people were slaughtered because of their religion is that hopefully in our country and around the world. And let me just say this, in my view, what the promise of America, for my father who came here with nothing in his pocket at the age of seventeen.
What the promise and the belief of America people all over the world have looked at this country is the belief that we are a nation which believes in diversity. We are a nation that welcomes that salad that the pastor spoke so beautifully about. That we learn from each other no matter what our religion, the color of our skin or the country we came from. In fact, what a wonderful advantage that we can learn from each other. Your background is different that mine, what a joy it is to share that.
So in this difficult moment, not only in american history where we see a rise in hate crimes, and not only in this world where we see a growing tendency towards authoritarianism. Where demagogues are picking on minority communities all over the world.
Now is the time, as everybody who’s come here before you has told you, now is time as never before, now is the time to stand up to hatred of all kinds. And show the world that this nation in fact will be a leader in bringing our people together, regardless of the religion, in to create an economy that works for all of us, and an environment that works for all of us, and a world in which love will conquer hate.
Let’s join Bernie is building a world based on love and justice. That is a worthy ambition for our immense power as a people and as a nation.
— @subirgrewal | Cross-posted to TheProgressiveWing.com