If you pay attention to the polls, Bernie Sanders’ message has not reached nearly enough of our black brothers and sisters. We can theorize on why that is and there’s probably some validity to the theory that there simply has not been enough highly visible debates on the democratic side of the aisle and of course the lopsided amount of media coverage hasn’t helped either.
But Bernie is making headway in getting the message out to the black communities and today’s announcement will certainly go a long ways to help. Sanders announced his South Carolina leadership team Saturday which includes three Democratic African-American South Carolina legislators, as well as backing from a Black Lives Matter leader from Columbia.
State Reps. Terry Alexander of Florence, Wendell Gilliard of Charleston and Robert Williams of Darlington are among more than 25 committee members backing the senator from Vermont’s bid for the Democratic nomination.
“Sen. Sanders has the feel, the attitude of the common person, folks who are struggling day-by-day who are working everyday and still cannot pay their bills, … do not have health insurance … and cannot support their families,” Alexander said, introducing Sanders who met briefly with media Saturday afternoon.
“Bernie Sanders has consistently fought for the African-American community throughout his life. His policies to enact a $15 minimum wage, reform our broken criminal justice system, eliminate felon disenfranchisement laws and ensure tuition-free public education would would benefit African-Americans in South Carolina tremendously,”
Sanders is “the strongest candidate here for African Americans and he will bring about change,” Alexander added.
Democratic voters will play a big role in the state’s Feb. 27 presidential primary because they make up more than half of the party’s electorate.
Other members of Sanders’ state committee are elected officials from around the state and Democratic Party and Black Lives Matter activists, according to the campaign. They include:
Allen Bailey, Sumter County Democratic Party chairman
Eugene Baten, Sumter County councilman
Earl Coleman, McCormick County councilman
Donna Dewitt, former president of the S.C. AFL-CIO
Thomas Dixon, president of the Carolina Alliance for Fair Employment
Annejanet Harp, S.C. Democratic Party Faith co-chairwoman
Teresa Harper, Aiken Democratic Party first vice chairwoman
William Lawrence, S.C. Democratic Party veterans chairman
James McCain, Sumter County councilman
Lucinda Nesmith, Florence County Party chairwoman
Naomi Sanders, former Sumter County Council chairwoman
Wanda Stringfellow, former Chester mayor
Timothy Taylor, Atlantic Beach police chief
Tom Turnipseed, former state senator
Stephen Wukela, Florence mayor
Other prominent figures in the African-American community that stand with Bernie include:
Omari Fox, the leader of Columbia’s Black Lives Matter organization, said. “Sanders has been a champion of the Black Lives Matter movement and his policies to end the disastrous War on Drugs and the failed era of mass incarceration are the strongest of any candidate in the race,” Fox continues, “I support Sanders’ civil rights platform and his positions to address institutional racism and structural inequality.”
Dr. Gloria Tinubu, the first African-American woman in the state to win the Democratic nomination for Congress, said “Sanders is in the tradition of President Franklin Roosevelt, who led our parents and grandparents through one of the most challenging times in our nation’s history. Like President Roosevelt, Bernie Sanders is fighting to protect our democratic way of life and our four freedoms.”