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Street Talk … from Inside the ‘Still Bernie’ Rally Supporters Rally in Hollywood

LOS ANGELES

PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS LA STYLE-On Sunday, June 26 at high noon, various groups supporting Bernie Sanders for President inspired a march/rally in Hollywood. About 800 to 1,000 enthusiastic supporters from across the city and nearby counties took part in the march. They rallied with banners, costumes, dances, and songs and there was a strong presence of politically savvy young activists. 

The march covered two square blocks, swiftly moved up Cahuenga Blvd to Hollywood Blvd and continued down Vine Street. It halted for a while at Selma Avenue for a pre-rally kick-off before proceeding to the rally center in front of the CNN building on Sunset Blvd. 

KPFK Public Radio Host Cary Harrison said that the public thinks that Bernie Sanders has dropped out due to the lack publicity in the mainstream media, and that is not true. Harrison emphasized that people were at this rally to support the ideals and values Bernie stands for. “To push Bernie into the White House where we can actually see policy change,” he said, “…he hasn’t disappeared just because CNN wants him to disappear.” 

Harrison added that the grandchild of Jeremy White of Team Bernie LA sponsored this event. 

As I interviewed Harrison, standing on Vine Street near the “Black Men for Bernie” bus with performers atop, loads of cheers were heard from the crowd of supporters as they looked up at the speakers, singers, and dancers. 

Harrison explained that voter suppression is on, even in the public radio system. “I did a whole radio show on voter suppression on Election Day. We did the entire hour live but they eradicated every person I interviewed. Our public archives are gone…there’s no record of it.” 

At about 12:30 pm, an announcement was made to the street rally in front of CNN that the vote counts in Los Angeles County and the City of San Francisco had flipped in favor of Bernie Sanders. The youth were dancing to that tune! 

“As the votes are being counted I see that a lot of counties have been flipping and I believe that at the end Bernie is going to have won California,” said YahNé Ndgo, spokeswoman for Bernie or Bust, and “DC to DNC” -- a march for Democracy from Washington DC starting on July 13 and arriving in Philadelphia on July 23 for the Democratic National Convention to be held July 24 through July 28. 

Spokeswoman Ndgo said that Bernie and the 1900+ delegates he has secured will all be at the convention. They will be discussing and negotiating what the democratic platform is going to be. The delegates and super delegates will cast their votes and officially nominate the democratic candidate for president. 

Ndgo added, “A lot of votes have not been counted, a lot of votes have been suppressed, there’s been a lot of election fraud and the only way for that to be corrected is for the super delegates to come out and vote in a way that corrects the inappropriate shifting of the election to Hilary Clinton that caused her to get the majority of delegates. If they don’t do that there are a lot of people who will not vote as democrats.” 

“This is Bernie’s Parade,” said Lidia Arata, from Harbor City, who heard about this event a week ago online. Arata’s been a volunteer for Bernie since last summer. She summed up her interview with me by saying, “Bernie or bust no matter what. Only Bernie!” 

As I moved in the crowd, one of Bernie’s banners caught my attention. Rick Macias from the Inland Empire is with Latinos for Bernie. Macias announced that August 2 -- a week after the DNC -- will be the people’s Super Tuesday, when people leave the Democratic Party nationwide through social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, online, house parties, etc. 

Heather Kim from Torrance California, said with a big smile, “This is wonderful. I want the world to know that we’re still with Bernie Sanders. I represent myself, and I’m holding this banner that reads, ‘Asian Pacific Islanders for Bernie.’ We collected donations from about three hundred people to make this Banner,” Kim said. 

Kim belongs to two groups, Americans for Bernie comprised of 150 Korean Americans, and Palos Verdes for Bernie comprised of 300 people from Torrance and Redondo Beach. 

As hip-hop music was blasting in the background, Christen Jenson Story, a teacher from Oxnard, almost shouting so I could hear, said that this election has been completely rigged on so many levels, with a lack of caring for the democratic process. She emphasized that “from polling places being gone, to not having a truly open primary, the mainstream media completely manipulated in favor of Clinton and Trump on CNN all the time.” 

As I was walking away from the loud speakers, I ran into Chih Chang from Orange County. Chang said that we need to find the right person to do the right thing at the right moment. “And I think that Bernie Sanders will represent that,” he concluded. 

Activist Linda Milazzo from the West San Fernando Valley said she thinks it’s important to show that the spirit of what Bernie began will not end until we have real change. 

Don Irwin, resident of Los Angeles, has been volunteering for Bernie’s campaign since August 2015 and has canvassed in five states. “I think this event is fantastic, a good way to get started.” 

In addition, Irwin said that he wants to make sure that young people have the same opportunity that the system provided him. He coordinated voter registration drives with student groups on campuses throughout the city and state. Also, as part of the committee that coordinated this event he said that he “assists with social media since the mainstream media has blacked us out.” 

Finally, Esperanza Salazar from Santa Barbara County said that the media keeps saying that Hillary Clinton has won, but we can’t determine that -- especially when they are still votes to be counted. Salazar continued, saying that this is the first time so many different ethnicities have come out to register and vote, adding to a large voter turnout. “Bernie caused this to happen,” she said. “This is what Democracy looks like.”

 

(Connie Acosta writes about Los Angeles neighborhood councils and is a neighborhood council participant.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.