Experience in Bernie March

My Experience with March For Bernie Sanders

Before this event, I had never experienced being a part of a political march. So it was to my excitement to go out and experience it about 20 minutes away from campus.

Before the March

A week before the march, I added myself to the “Red Bank N.J. March for Bernie Sanders” group page on Facebook. There, I had realized that this march was being planned out for over a month. The organizers, Kate Triggiano and Boris Kofman, were very active in answering people’s questions and keeping everyone up to date.

Nights before the march, people began to post pictures of their posters and signs and others commented being supportive. They bounced ideas off of each other, and they were getting rather creative with slogans and paints.

One of the biggest reminders that was mentioned on the page was that during the march, the most important thing was to remain peaceful. The organizers wanted to make sure that the message that was being evoked was positive. They suggested not to litter or be rowdy, to shop in the local stores, and eat at the local restaurants. Most of all, support Red Bank in the best way possible.

This was great to hear since the news has been putting a negative spin on several rallies and marches throughout the current election. The march having a positive message and being able to demonstrate that through actions is really important to attract voters.

Arriving at the meeting site, I realized that there was a lot more people than I expected. This march was hosted on a Saturday, a day people would rather sleep in and relax, yet, people were out in the cold and rain, ready to let their voices be heard. I was eager to see where this would take me.

During the March

The course of the march went on for about a mile and a half. Once the march began, it was very quiet. Chants were started but they easily died out, leaving everyone laughing at the awkwardness. This opened up the opportunity for people to become more acquainted with one another. People began to discuss the reasons why they were there and what they believed in, with no judgment.

It quickly became louder and the chants became more constant, from “Feel The Bern,” to “A Living Wage for All.” The awkward phase was over and everyone began to remember that the reason they were out there was to spread the word about who they thought was the better presidential candidate.

While marching down the streets of Red Bank, I met an older gentleman, who was holding up a sign about education. I wanted to know his story since it was too cold of a morning for someone his age to be out. He proceeded to tell me that he was out in the march in honor of his friend. She had been a “red diaper baby,” meaning she was born during the rise of communism around the world. Because of this, she became a very present activist, and whenever she could go out and rally, she would. However, she was very ill on Saturday and this gentleman was out in her honor.

Once we got to the main streets, residents of Red Bank noticed our presence. Several would come out of their shops and record videos on their phone, intrigued in what was taking place.

The march ended at Riverside Garden Park, where Triggiano and others began to set up speakers to take turns and talk about their reasons on why they thought Sanders was best suited presidential candidate to take office. The speakers did not project very loudly, yet the people would listen attentively without making too much noise in order not to disturb others trying to listen.

The one person whose words spoke to me the most were those of a young man named Kevin, who is from Honduras, where I am from as well. He spoke about the myths about illegal immigration and focused on how illegal immigrants unlike popular belief, do pay taxes through their tax identification numbers. He mentioned that they contribute over $2.2 million in revenue in just California alone. To discuss the issues and misconstructions of illegal immigration publicly, especially in a time of oppression in the political world, is so brave and he really inspired me.

The people in the crowd were so willing to take pictures with their signs and talk to one another. My one friend, Janaya Lewinski, a junior political science student, was able to meet a woman that had a sign that said “I am a Black Jewish Woman for Bernie”. Lewinski, who is a black Jewish woman as well, has not been able to meet many women like her before this because of how rare the combination of cultres is. Yet, that day, she was able to bond and embrace a woman similar to her, and talk about their experiences.

After the March

I had the great opportunity to speak to Triggiano, and really get to know why she got involved in this cause to elect Sanders. She is an extraordinary women that is passionate about what she cares about. You could tell that she was very genuine when she tried to go around saying hello to everyone and trying to get to know them. She even took the time to talk to many other members.

I got to meet so many fabulous people and really engage myself in an important aspect of the political process. One thing that really stood out to me is that even though the media only focuses on the millennial support for Sanders, there were so many people of different ages, ethnicities and backgrounds, all trying to achieve a form of equality for all. Hopefully, this will not be the last one.

PHOTO TAKEN by Jasmine Ramos