Photos: Nadin and Tom Abbott
Videos: Tom Abbott
May 22, 2016 (National City) The attendees came early to stand in line to watch Senator Bernie Sanders, running for the Democratic Presidential bid, at Kimball Park in San Diego. It was a carnival atmosphere, full of young people and older people, a true face of the melting pot. We estimate the ground at 8 thousand, but we did not get official estimates from the campaign.
Among the first in line were three young women, proud latinas. Mia Goros, Xochitl Andrade and Melissa Quiroz. They spoke about the Campaign. They had been there since 8 in the morning for a speech scheduled for 7:30 at night. They told Reporting San Diego that they came “because we all believe in him and his message.”
We asked for some specifics. “He is going to give us a free education and that is important for us. Also becuase of “women’s rights, will articulate the birth control. and having our bodies be our bodies.” The three of them are millennials.
We also spoke with Mary, who asked us not to take a photo of her, or use her last name. She is African American. and many people are shy about talking to the media. We respect that. She did speak to us about her reasons to be at the rally. She told Reporting San Diego, “I like his goals. I like what he is offering.” We asked again for specifics, she likes “free affordable community college.” She also spoke about single payor health care.
Mary raised a few critical issues.
We also asked about Sander’s appeal. Mary said “I think he appeals to a lot of people. I think the narrative is clearly wrong, I think Bernie appeals to a lot of people in the African American community. We are affected by high unemployment, terrible roads. no access to banking, most African Americans don’t have a checking account to take out money, so a lot of what he is saying appeals to the African American community and would benefit them.”
Moreover, Mary said that banking services at the postal office would help the African American community, becuase people have access to postal offices, which are close in the community.
Before we went in, the line grew. When we got to the park, there were about two thousand people. By the time we got in, there were about 8 thousand, and it was a carnival atmosphere. There were shirt vendors, and button vendors. There was also a guy walking around in a Bernie costume.
We had an added element. Since the elections are on June 7, registering voters was at a high pitch, with tables set up and people walking the line. There was something else. Jose Caballero, who is running for District 7 San Diego City Council was actively working the crowd. There were sings as well. So was Sarah Saez, running for District 9, and we also had Lori Saldana workers and Ed Harris volunteers also working the line. Both are running for Mayor of San Diego.
Among the local dignitaries that showed up were Jeff Durffee, former head of the local Democratic party, and he will be going to Philadelphia for the national Convention, and Carol Kim addressed the crowd, who ran and lost, for San Diego City Council.
We also had some well known labor organizers from San Diego show up, such as Sandy Naranjo.
The Senator was introduced by George Lopez, who also worked the crowed before taking to the stage and singed many a signs. Lopez knew that this was a majority minority crowd, and the campaign expected a lot of Latinos to be present. So Lopez went into those things that chiefly matter to Latinos.
“Vita la Raza,” “Hey, hey, ho, ho, the corporate greed gotta go!” The crowd started to chant, before Lopez came to the state. When he came to the stage, he told the crowd: “Nothing is over yet, and this movement is still going on strong. It’s too chingón to be stopped!”
He added, “you are never too old to have government work for you…every American deserves a better government.” As he went on with his speech, he addressed how multicultural the country is. “This is the United States of America, where they speak English y también se nabla español. Y se habla el idioms de Bernie Sanders” (And we also speak Spanish, and we speak the language of Bernie Sanders.)
He also said, that enough is enough, or a single word in Spanish, ya. He also emphasized that this is what the country looks like, people from all over, with all kinds of colors.
We are posting the video of Sander’s speech. There are breaks in the video, when batteries had to be changed. But there is also one break when Sanders stopped speaking. He asked the crowd to let the paramedics work, as they tended to the second medical emergency of the evening> The first one the medics did not take the person out. The second, they took the person out on a stretcher. When that happened, silence overcame the audience and you could hear a pin drop.
Videos are in order