- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 06 April 2016
- Written by JASMINE RAMOS | POLITICS CO-EDITOR
N.J. supporters of Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders gathered in Red Bank to march on April 2. Over 400 individuals were in attendance to bring awareness about the candidate for the upcoming election.
Organizers Kate Triggiano and Boris Kofman, with the help of others, planned for about a month in advance after being inspired by the similar acts that happened in Asbury Park a couple months prior.
Pat Dunn, an avid Sanders supporter, was the inspiration behind the march in Red Bank. Marc Adamo, who is a labor activist and participated in “Occupy Wall Street”, explained how the idea of the march started. In Asbury Park, Dunn was able to bring together 200 people to come out to support Sanders on the boardwalk, on very short notice.
Dunn explained on Facebook, “I was sitting home & saw the marches happening all over, yet nothing seemed to be going on in N.J. I’m just some guy. I picked a day/place/time and threw it on Facebook. [I] didn’t know what to expect at all. Before long, people I didn’t know were responding in no small way. I received more help and enthusiasm than I could have anticipated.”
He continued, “Asbury Park was wonderful. It came from one person’s idea and 100s of folks I never met came out and yelled and marched with joyful purpose. Kate took that and followed suit and built an amazing event in Red Bank!”
Triggiano wondered how much more successful another march would be if there was a bit more planning behind it. Using her experience as concert booker, and with the help of other, the march in Red Bank was organized.
The event began at noon, meeting at the Red Bank Train Station, and ending around 2 p.m in Riverside Garden Park. It concluded with speeches from six different individuals, each telling their story about why they believed Sanders was a better fit for the presidency.
Various held signs to draw attention, with sayings such as “Feel the Bern”, “Join the Revolution”, and “Grannies for Bernie.” At first, the march began very quietly with small chats coming in and dying out, but it quickly picked up momentum when it reached main streets.
Janet Smuga, a retired educator, and the creator of the sign “Grannies for Bernie” expresses why she went out that day. “When I was looking for stuff that would be of interest, that would be relevant, to my students, one of the things I came across was information about the wealth gap. Bernie is really the one person that has stood up consistently to fight back. I think the wealth gap is the biggest risk to democracy in our country today.”
She has been a very active participant in marches since the 1960’s. When asked why this was so important to her, she said, “It brings us together as a community and it puts a face on things. These are human beings, right here in your town, standing up for something. And I think for the people who see it, that means something. Just like when in the 60’s or 70’s, when we marched for peace and civil rights, that showed people something. There were masses of people out there and if you were just observing, and you think, ‘Oh, that’s important. People care about it.’ I think it does make a difference.”
Red Bank residents would leave their businesses on Broad St., to view the march as it went on. Jedd, a bystander during the march, said he found everything “very exciting.” “It’s nice to see him take a hold on Red Bank and see everyone get together.”
Once the march concluded in Riverside Garden Park, Triggiano began to introduce several speakers. The first speech began by talking about climate change. Jim Walsh explained that Sanders was opposed of the Keystone Pipeline from the very beginning, in comparison to his competitors. He said, “This is about the future. Should we talk about what is pragmatic or about what we really need?”
A Montclair senior education student that aspires to be a social studies teacher talked about student debt. He said, “What could be more important than cultivating the youth with knowledge? […] This campaign is about saying no more.”
One of the last speakers was a Monmouth Alumni of 2014, named Adam Black. “This is the first rally that I have ever been to, but it also is an incredible political revolution that’s going on. I think that everyone is so passionate about Sanders, is something you don’t really see with the other candidates in a positive matter. And I think that’s what makes Sanders so special. We are here, we are protesting, but we’re doing it peacefully. We’re doing it honorably.”
When speaking about why he believed Sanders appears to college students, “I think a lot happens to be linked with what President Obama experienced in 2008. That gathering and empowering the young vote, you can win any election. Just as Obama won, Sanders is speaking to the young people. He is the only candidate that is specifically speaking to the youth vote and includes them, which is why I think he is so important.”
When asked about why these marches were so important, Triggiano said it brings awareness to those who do not get highlighted in the news. “This brings visability. After the Asbury Park march, we were on the Sunday edition of Asbury Park Press. We would have never gotten that coverage if we would have not had the march.”
Many of these marches have been prominent for Sander’s campaign, but have not been aired by the media. In Jan., the first ever nationwide march for any presidential candidate thus far, took place in over 35 cities, naming it the “March for Bernie.” Despite bringing over 500 to 1,000 people per march, and going viral on social media, many national corporate-owned media outlets did not give it any airtime. Many of these marches even took place in blizzard conditions.
To Triggiano, the event went very successfully, despite the weather conditions. “I feel as if, when it is rainy, it makes a more powerful statement when peopel come out.”
Other marches for Sanders in N.J. are being planned, such as in Newark and Hoboken within the next couple of months.
PHOTO TAKEN by Jasmine Ramos