Central Station opened its doors to host the first Bushwick event for the National Latino Outreach Team for Bernie. Organizers from Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign offices spoke about the importance of grassroots efforts and getting involved in communities like Bushwick where the voter turnout has historically been very low.
Two organizers from Chicago, Yesenia Mata and Anahi Tapia, spoke about how they increased voter turnout in their neighborhood by 68%. Their personal experiences served as a reminder that getting involved is sometimes a simple matter of seeing a lack of something in your community and filling that void.
The keynote speaker, Debbie Medina, emphasized the ways in which Brooklyn struggles when politicians forget about the plight of the residents. She said of Bernie Sanders, a fellow Brooklyn native: “He’s here for us.”
Ms. Medina, a seasoned tenants’ rights activist herself, is running for a state senate seat in the 18th district this year. She hopes to oust the 7 term incumbent, Martin Malave Dilan, on a platform which puts housing concerns first.
National Latino Outreach Strategist, Cesar Vargas, wants to paint a different picture of the Sanders campaign than the whitewashed narrative most people see on the news. He says this election is about “a latino electorate coming to an informed decision” and 14 and 15 year old children who are already thinking about their futures and encouraging their families to take a second look at Bernie.
The event felt very much like a move to start changing the narrative which has often relegated mention of minority support of Bernie to a footnote or attributed his success to a fluke. If last night is any indication, support for Bernie in Bushwick might be bigger even than the occasional bumper sticker or tote.