Bernie Sanders launched his quest to capture the hearts of New Yorkers in The Bronx today. An estimated 18,500 people showed up to St Mary’s Park in the South Bronx to show support for the candidate they believe to have the chutzpah to be the next president of The United States—we think so too.
All throughout the day it was a rally and gathering filled with love and peace—much unlike the ugliness we’ve been subjected to of Trump rallies filled with hate, violence, and flat out racism.
By the time I arrived at 10:30AM for media pre-check in, there were about a dozen people camping out on line with a few since 5AM.
My friend Eric Trujillo, a very strong activist in the LGBT community was already there just before 10AM and was the 5th in line. When I was done with check in, the crowd had swelled to over 100 by noon.
And then it kept doubling, tripling at a very rapid rate. The line began to wrap down St Mary’s Street (143rd Street) and eventually wrapped itself up to 147th Street.
Immediatly noticeable was how diverse the supporters were at today’s rally and contrary to what the narrative the media and other candidates have been telling, people of color played a huge role in today’s turnout representing probably half or more of the 18,500 estimated to have attended.
Secret Service and the NYPD reconfigured the main waiting area and all those individuals were moved into the main area but within an hour the line was once again out back and beyond 147th Street.
4PM finally rolled by and both the press and Bernie supporters began filing in through tight security complete with metal detectors and dog sniffers.
NYS Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, who’s district is within The Bronx and is the only candidate to officially endorse Bernie Sanders from The Bronx said that, “I was told that I had to support a certain candidate but I said why don’t we wait until there’s more information out there? I refused to be a part of the machine and that’s why I’m endorsing Bernie Sanders.”
Although he hasn’t endorsed Bernie Sanders, NYC Councilman from The Bronx, Ritchie Torress was in attendance at the rally leaving many questioning if he will give an endorsement to the Sanders camp.
By the time Sanders took the stage after actress Rosario Dawson along with Spike Lee warmed up the crowd and was introduced by Residente aka Rene from the Puerto Rican group Calle 13, the crowd had swelled to an estimated 18,500.
According to veteran NYPD officers from the 40th Precinct, they have never seen anything like this outside of Yankee Stadium.
“I’m shocked at the number of people, this is far larger than anything we’ve dealt with including Summer Stage concerts.” said one officer.
Bernie’s message touched upon a number of issues and even talked about the health disparities of our borough and also talked about our abysmal asthma rates after having been briefed by community members before making out to the stage.
From fair living wages to income parity for women, a path out of poverty and higher education without burdening students financially, the attendees went wild with each announcement.
The revolution that Bernie Sanders is leading has finally arrived in New York and there is no better place than The Bronx to begin the fight to win New York State in the primaries.
After witnessing the throngs of thousands of all ages, colors, ethinicities—simply transcending all barriers—harmoniously standing together, faith has been restored in humanity and New York seems to be within reach of going full-Bern come April 19th on primary day.